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Table of Contents 

Chapter One 
Chapter Two 
Chapter Three 
Chapter Four 
Chapter Five 
Chapter Six 
Chapter Seven 
Chapter Eight 
Chapter Nine 
Chapter Ten 
Chapter Eleven 
Chapter Twelve 
Chapter Thirteen 
Chapter Fourteen 
Chapter Fifteen 
Chapter Sixteen 
Chapter Seventeen 
Chapter Eighteen 

Chapter Nineteen 
Chapter Twenty 
Chapter Twenty-One 
Chapter Twenty-Two 
Chapter Twenty-Three 
Chapter Twenty-Four 
Chapter Twenty- Five 
Chapter Twenty-Six 
Chapter Twenty-Seven 
Chapter Twenty-Eight 
Chapter Twenty-Nine 
Chapter Thirty 
Chapter Thirty-One 
Chapter Thirty-Two 
Chapter Thirty-Three 
Chapter Thirty- Four 
Chapter Thirty- Five 
Chapter Thirty-Six 
Chapter Thirty-Seven 
Chapter Thirty-Eight 
Chapter Thirty-Nine 
Chapter Forty 

Chapter Forty-One 
Chapter Forty-Two 
Chapter Forty-Three 
Chapter Forty-Four 
Chapter Forty- Five 
Chapter Forty-Six 
Chapter Forty-Seven 
Chapter Forty- Eight 
Chapter Forty-Nine 
Chapter Fifty 
Chapter Fifty-One 
Chapter Fifty-Two 
Chapter Fifty-Three 
Chapter Fifty-Four 
Chapter Fifty-Five 
Chapter Fifty-Six 

Special Thanks 
About the Author 
Back Ad 

Books by Veronica Roth 



About the Publisher 


To Jo, 

who guides and steadies me 
Every question that can be answered 
must be 

answered or at least engaged. Illogical 

thought processes must be 

challenged when they arise. 

Wrong answers must be corrected. Correct 

answers must be affirmed. 

—From the Erudite faction manifesto 

Dedication Epigraph 
Chapter One 
Chapter Two 
Chapter Three 
Chapter Four 
Chapter Five 
Chapter Six 
Chapter Seven 
Chapter Eight 

Chapter Nine 
Chapter Ten 
Chapter Eleven 
Chapter Twelve 
Chapter Thirteen 
Chapter Fourteen 
Chapter Fifteen 
Chapter Sixteen 
Chapter Seventeen 
Chapter Eighteen 
Chapter Nineteen 
Chapter Twenty 
Chapter Twenty-One 
Chapter Twenty-Two 
Chapter Twenty-Three 
Chapter Twenty-Four 
Chapter Twenty- Five 
Chapter Twenty-Six 
Chapter Twenty-Seven 
Chapter Twenty-Eight 
Chapter Twenty-Nine 
Chapter Thirty 

Chapter Thirty-One 
Chapter Thirty-Two 
Chapter Thirty-Three 
Chapter Thirty- Four 
Chapter Thirty- Five 
Chapter Thirty-Six 
Chapter Thirty-Seven 
Chapter Thirty-Eight 
Chapter Thirty-Nine 
Chapter Forty 
Chapter Forty-One 
Chapter Forty-Two 
Chapter Forty-Three 
Chapter Forty-Four 
Chapter Forty- Five 
Chapter Forty-Six 
Chapter Forty-Seven 
Chapter Forty- Eight 
Chapter Forty-Nine 
Chapter Fifty 
Chapter Fifty-One 
Chapter Fifty-Two 

Chapter Fifty-Three 
Chapter Fifty-Four 
Chapter Fifty-Five 
Chapter Fifty-Six 

Special Thanks 
About the Author 
Back Ad 

Books by Veronica Roth 



About the Publisher 

I PACE IN our cell in Erudite headquarters, 
her words echoing in my mind: My name will 
be Edith Prior, and there is much I am 
happy to forget. 

"So you've never seen her before? Not even 
in pictures?" Christina says, her wounded leg 

propped up on a pillow. She was shot during 
our desperate attempt to reveal the Edith 
Prior video to our city. At the time we had no 
idea what it would say, or that it would shat- 
ter the foundation we stand on, the factions, 
our identities. "Is she a grandmother or an 
aunt or something?" 

"I told you, no," I say, turning when I 
reach the wall. "Prior is— was— my father's 
name, so it would have to be on his side of 
the family. But Edith is an Abnegation name, 
and my father's relatives must have been 
Erudite, so . . ." 

"So she must be older," Cara says, leaning 
her head against the wall. From this angle 
she looks just like her brother, Will, my 
friend, the one I shot. Then she straightens, 
and the ghost of him is gone. "A few genera- 
tions back. An ancestor." 

"Ancestor." The word feels old inside me, 
like crumbling brick. I touch one wall of the 

cell as I turn around. The panel is cold and 

My ancestor, and this is the inheritance 
she passed to me: freedom from the factions, 
and the knowledge that my Divergent iden- 
tity is more important than I could have 
known. My existence is a signal that we need 
to leave this city and offer our help to who- 
ever is outside it. 

"I want to know," Cara says, running her 
hand over her face. "I need to know how long 
we've been here. Would you stop pacing for 
one minute?" 

I stop in the middle of the cell and 
raise my eyebrows at her. 
"Sorry," she mumbles. 

"It's okay," Christina says. "We've been in 
here way too long." 

It's been days since Evelyn mastered the 
chaos in the lobby of Erudite headquarters 
with a few short commands and had all the 
prisoners hustled away to cells on the third 

floor. A factionless woman came to doctor 
our wounds and distribute painkillers, and 
we've eaten and showered several times, but 
no one has told us what's going on outside. 
No matter how forcefully I've asked them. 

"I thought Tobias would come by now," I 
say, dropping to the edge of my cot. "Where 
is he?" 

"Maybe he's still angry that you lied to him 
and went behind his back to work with his 
father," Cara says. 

I glare at her. 

"Four wouldn't be that petty," Christina 
says, either to chastise Cara or to reassure 
me, I'm not sure. "Something's probably go- 
ing on that's keeping him away. He told you 
to trust him." 

In the chaos, when everyone was shouting 
and the factionless were trying to push us to- 
ward the staircase, I curled my fingers in the 
hem of his shirt so I wouldn't lose him. He 
took my wrists in his hands and pushed me 

away, and those were the words he said. 
Trust me. Go where they tell you. 

"I'm trying," I say, and it's true. I'm trying 
to trust him. But every part of me, every fiber 
and every nerve, is straining toward free- 
dom, not just from this cell but from the 
prison of the city beyond it. 
I need to see what's outside the fence. 

I CAN'T WALK these hallways without re- 
membering the days I spent as a prisoner 
here, barefoot, pain pulsing 



inside me every time I moved. And with 
that memory is another one, one of waiting 
for Beatrice Prior to go to her death, of my 
fists against the door, of her legs slung across 
Peter's arms when he told me she was just 
I hate this place. 

It isn't as clean as it was when it was the 
Erudite compound; now it is ravaged by war, 
bullet holes in the walls and the broken glass 
of shattered lightbulbs everywhere. I walk 
over dirty footprints and beneath flickering 
lights to her cell and I am admitted without 
question, because I bear the factionless sym- 
bol—an empty circle— on a black band 
around my arm and Evelyn's features on my 
face. Tobias Eaton was a shameful name, and 
now it is a powerful one. 

Tris crouches on the ground inside, 
shoulder to shoulder with Christina and di- 
agonal from Cara. My Tris should look pale 
and small— she is pale and small, after 
all— but instead the room is full of her. 

Her round eyes find mine and she is on her 
feet, her arms wound tightly around my 
waist and her face against my chest. 

I squeeze her shoulder with one hand and 
run my other hand over her hair, still sur- 
prised when her hair stops above her neck 

instead of below it. I was happy when she cut 
it, because it was hair for a warrior and not a 
girl, and I knew that was what she would 

"How'd you get in?" she says in her low, 
clear voice. 

"I'm Tobias Eaton," I say, and she laughs. 

"Right. I keep forgetting." She pulls away 
just far enough to look at me. There is a 
wavering expression in her eyes, like she is a 
heap of leaves about to be scattered by the 
wind. "What's happening? What took you so 

She sounds desperate, pleading. For all the 
horrible memories this place carries for me, 
it carries more for her, the walk to her execu- 
tion, her brother's betrayal, the fear serum. I 
have to get her out. 

Cara looks up with interest. I feel uncom- 
fortable, like I have shifted in my skin and it 
doesn't quite fit anymore. I hate having an 

"Evelyn has the city under lockdown," I 
say. "No one goes a step in any direction 
without her say-so. A few days ago she gave a 
speech about uniting against our oppressors, 
the people outside." 

"Oppressors?" Christina says. She takes a 
vial from her pocket and dumps the contents 
into her mouth— painkillers for the bullet 
wound in her leg, I assume. 

I slide my hands into my pockets. 
"Evelyn— and a lot of people, actually —think 
we shouldn't leave the city just to help a 
bunch of people who shoved us in here so 
they could use us later. They want to try to 
heal the city and solve our own problems in- 
stead of leaving to solve other people's. I'm 
paraphrasing, of course," I say. "I suspect 
that opinion is very convenient for my moth- 
er, because as long as we're all contained, 
she's in charge. The second we leave, she 
loses her hold." 

"Great." Tris rolls her eyes. "Of course she 
would choose the most selfish route 

"She has a point." Christina wraps her fin- 
gers around the vial. "I'm not saying I don't 
want to leave the city and see what's out 
there, but we've got enough going on here. 
How are we supposed to help a bunch of 
people we've never met?" 

Tris considers this, chewing on the inside 
of her cheek. "I don't know," she admits. 

My watch reads three o'clock. I've been 
here too long— long enough to make Evelyn 
suspicious. I told her I came to break things 
off with Tris, that it wouldn't take much 
time. I'm not sure she believed me. 

I say, "Listen, I mostly came to warn 
you— they're starting the trials for all the 
prisoners. They're going to put you all under 
truth serum, and if it works, you'll be con- 
victed as traitors. I think we would all like to 
avoid that." 

"Convicted as traitors?" Tris scowls. "How 
is revealing the truth to our entire city an act 
of betrayal?" 

"It was an act of defiance against your 
leaders," I say. "Evelyn and her followers 
don't want to leave the city. They won't thank 
you for showing that video." 

"They're just like Jeanine!" She makes a 
fitful gesture, like she wants to hit something 
but there's nothing available. "Ready to do 
anything to stifle the truth, and for what? To 
be kings of their tiny little world? It's 

I don't want to say so, but part of me 
agrees with my mother. I don't owe the 
people outside this city anything, whether I 
am Divergent or not. I'm not sure I want to 
offer myself to them to solve humanity's 
problems, whatever that means. 

But I do want to leave, in the desperate 
way that an animal wants to escape a trap. 

Wild and rabid. Ready to gnaw through 

"Be that as it may," I say carefully, "if the 
truth serum works on you, you will be 

"If it works?" says Cara, narrowing her 

"Divergent," Tris says to her, pointing at 
her own head. "Remember?" 

"That's fascinating." Cara tucks a stray hair 
back into the knot just above her neck. "But 
atypical. In my experience, most Divergent 
can't resist the truth serum. I wonder why 
you can." 

"You and every other Erudite who ever 
stuck a needle in me," Tris snaps. 

"Can we focus, please? I would like 
to avoid having to break you out of prison," I 
say. Suddenly desperate for comfort, I reach 
for Tris's hand, and she brings her fingers up 
to meet mine. We are not people who touch 
each other carelessly; every point of contact 

between us feels important, a rush of energy 
and relief. 

"All right, all right," she says, gently now. 
"What did you have in mind?" 

"I'll get Evelyn to let you testify first, of the 
three of you," I say. "All you have to do is 
come up with a lie that will exonerate both 
Christina and Cara, and then tell it under 
truth serum." 

"What kind of lie would do that?" 

"I thought I would leave that to you," I say. 
"Since you're the better liar." 

I know as I'm saying the words that they 
hit a sore spot in both of us. She lied to me so 
many times. She promised me she wouldn't 
go to her death in the Erudite compound 
when Jeanine demanded the sacrifice of a 
Divergent, and then she did it anyway. She 
told me she would stay home during the 
Erudite attack, and then I found her in 
Erudite headquarters, working with my 

father. I understand why she did all those 
things, but that doesn't mean we aren't still 

"Yeah." She looks at her shoes. "Okay, I'll 
think of something." 

I set my hand on her arm. "I'll talk to 
Evelyn about your trial. I'll try to make 
it soon." 
"Thank you." 

I feel the urge, familiar now, to wrench 
myself from my body and speak directly into 
her mind. It is the same urge, I realize, that 
makes me want to kiss her every time I see 
her, because even a sliver of distance 
between us is infuriating. Our fingers, 
loosely woven a moment ago, now clutch to- 
gether, her palm tacky with moisture, mine 
rough in places where I have grabbed too 
many handles on too many moving trains. 
Now she looks pale and small, but her eyes 
make me think of wide-open skies that I 
have never actually seen, only dreamed of. 

"If you're going to kiss, do me a favor and 
tell me so I can look away," says Christina. 

"We are," Tris says. And we do. 

I touch her cheek to slow the kiss down, 
holding her mouth on mine so I can feel 
every place where our lips touch and every 
place where they pull away. I savor the air we 
share in the second afterward and the slip of 
her nose across mine. I think of something to 
say, but it is too intimate, so I swallow it. A 
moment later I decide I don't care. 

"I wish we were alone," I say as I back out 
of the cell. 

She smiles. "I almost always wish that." 

As I shut the door, I see Christina pretend- 
ing to vomit, and Cara laughing, and Tris's 
hands hanging at her sides. 

"I THINK YOU'RE all idiots." My hands are 
curled in my lap like a sleeping child's. My 
body is heavy with truth serum. Sweat 

collects on my eyelids. "You should be thank- 
ing me, not questioning me." 

"We should thank you for defying the in- 
structions of your faction leaders? Thank you 
for trying to prevent one of your faction lead- 
ers from killing Jeanine Matthews? You be- 
haved like a traitor." Evelyn Johnson spits 
the word like a snake. We are in the confer- 
ence room in Erudite headquarters, where 
the trials have been taking place. I have now 
been a prisoner for at least a week. 

I see Tobias, half-hidden in the shadows 
behind his mother. He has kept his eyes 
averted since I sat in the chair and they cut 
the strip of plastic binding my wrists togeth- 
er. For just for a moment, his eyes touch 
mine, and I know it's time to start lying. 

It's easier now that I know I can do it. As 
easy as pushing the weight of the truth ser- 
um aside in my mind. 

"I am not a traitor," I say. "At the 

time I believed that Marcus was working 
under Dauntless-factionless orders. Since I 
couldn't join the fight as a soldier, I was 
happy to help with something else." 

"Why couldn't you be a soldier?" Fluores- 
cent light glows behind Evelyn's hair. I can't 
see her face, and I can't focus on anything for 
more than a second before the truth serum 
threatens to pull me down again. 

"Because." I bite my lip, as if trying to stop 
the words from rushing out. I don't know 
when I became so good at acting, but I guess 
it's not that different from lying, which I 
have always had a talent for. "Because I 
couldn't hold a gun, okay? Not after shooting 
. . . him. My friend Will. I couldn't hold a gun 
without panicking." 

Evelyn's eyes pinch tighter. I suspect that 
even in the softest parts of her, there is no 
sympathy for me. 

"So Marcus told you he was working under 
my orders," she says, "and even knowing 

what you do about his rather tense relation- 
ship with both the Dauntless and the faction- 
less, you believed him?" 

"I can see why you didn't choose Erudite." 
She laughs. 

My cheeks tingle. I would like to slap her, 
as I'm sure many of the people in this room 
would, though they wouldn't dare to admit it. 
Evelyn has us all trapped in the city, con- 
trolled by armed factionless patrolling the 
streets. She knows that whoever holds the 
guns holds the power. And with Jeanine 
Matthews dead, there is no one left to chal- 
lenge her for it. 

From one tyrant to another. That is the 
world we know, now. 

"Why didn't you tell anyone about this?" 
she says. 

"I didn't want to have to admit to any 
weakness," I say. "And I didn't want Four to 
know I was working with his father. I knew 

he wouldn't like it." I feel new words rising in 
my throat, prompted by the truth serum. "I 
brought you the truth about our city and the 
reason we are in it. If you aren't thanking me 
for it, you should at least do something about 
it instead of sitting here on this mess you 
made, pretending it's a throne!" 

Evelyn's mocking smile twists like she has 
just tasted something unpleasant. She leans 
in close to my face, and I see for the first 
time how old she is; I see the lines that frame 
her eyes and mouth, and the unhealthy pal- 
lor she wears from years of eating far too 
little. Still, she is handsome like her son. 
Near-starvation could not take that. 

"I am doing something about it. I am mak- 
ing a new world," she says, and her voice gets 
even quieter, so that I can barely hear her. "I 
was Abnegation. I have known the truth far 
longer than you have, Beatrice Prior. I don't 
know how you're getting away with this, but 

I promise you, you will not have a place in 
my new world, especially not with my son." 

I smile a little. I shouldn't, but it's harder 
to suppress gestures and expressions than 
words, with this weight in my veins. She be- 
lieves that Tobias belongs to her now. She 
doesn't know the truth, that he belongs to 

Evelyn straightens, folding her arms. 

"The truth serum has revealed that while 
you may be a fool, you are no traitor. This in- 
terrogation is over. You may leave." 

"What about my friends?" I say sluggishly. 
"Christina, Cara. They didn't do anything 
wrong either." 

"We will deal with them soon," Evelyn 

I stand, though I'm weak and dizzy from 
the serum. The room is packed with people, 
shoulder to shoulder, and I can't find the exit 
for a few long seconds, until someone takes 
my arm, a boy with warm brown skin and a 

wide smile— Uriah. He guides me to the 
door. Everyone starts talking. 

Uriah leads me down the hallway to the 
elevator bank. The elevator doors spring 
open when he touches the button, and I fol- 
low him in, still not steady on my feet. When 
the doors close, I say, "You don't think the 
part about the mess and the throne was too 

"No. She expects you to be hotheaded. She 
might have been suspicious if you hadn't 

I feel like everything inside me is vibrating 
with energy, in anticipation of what is to 
come. I am free. We're going to find a way 
out of the city. No more waiting, pacing a 
cell, demanding answers that I won't get 
from the guards. 

The guards did tell me a few things about 
the new factionless order this morning. 
Former faction members are required to 
move closer to Erudite headquarters and 

mix, no more than four members of a partic- 
ular faction in each dwelling. We have to mix 
our clothing, too. I was given a yellow Amity 
shirt and black Candor pants earlier as a res- 
ult of that particular edict. 

"All right, we're this way. ..." Uriah leads 
me out of the elevator. This floor of Erudite 
headquarters is all glass, even the walls. Sun- 
light refracts through it and casts slivers of 
rainbows across the floor. I shield my eyes 
with one hand and follow Uriah to a long, 
narrow room with beds on either side. Next 
to each bed is a glass cabinet for clothes and 
books, and a small table. 

"It used to be the Erudite initiate dormit- 
ory," Uriah says. "I reserved beds for 
Christina and Cara already." 

Sitting on a bed near the door are three 
girls in red shirts— Amity girls, I would 
guess— and on the left side of the room, an 
older woman lies on one of the beds, her 
spectacles dangling from one ear— possibly 

one of the Erudite. I know I should try to 
stop putting people in factions when I see 
them, but it's an old habit, hard to break. 

Uriah falls on one of the beds in the back 
corner. I sit on the one next to his, glad to be 
free and at rest, finally. 

"Zeke says it sometimes takes a little while 
for the factionless to process exonerations, 
so they should be out later," Uriah says. 

For a moment I feel relieved that everyone 
I care about will be out of prison by tonight. 
But then I remember that Caleb is still there, 
because he was a well-known lackey of Jean- 
ine Matthews, and the factionless will never 
exonerate him. But just how far they will go 
to destroy the mark Jeanine Matthews left 
on this city, I don't know. 

/ don't care , I think. But even as I think it, 
I know it's a lie. He's still my brother. 

"Good," I say. "Thanks, Uriah." 

He nods, and leans his head against the 
wall to prop it up. 

"How are you?" I say. "I mean . . . Lynn . . 

Uriah had been friends with Lynn and 
Marlene as long as I'd known them, and now 
both of them are dead. I feel like I might be 
able to understand— after all, I've lost two 
friends too, Al to the pressures of initiation 
and Will to the attack simulation and my 
own hasty actions. But I don't want to pre- 
tend that our suffering is the same. For one 
thing, Uriah knew his friends better than I 

"I don't want to talk about it." Uriah 
shakes his head. "Or think about it. I just 
want to keep moving." 

"Okay. I understand. Just ... let me know 
if you need . . ." 

"Yeah." He smiles at me and gets up. 
"You're okay here, right? I told my mom I'd 
visit tonight, so I have to go soon. Oh —al- 
most forgot to tell you— Four said 
he wants to meet you later." 

I pull up straighter. "Really? When? 

"A little after ten, at Millennium Park. On 
the lawn." He smirks. "Don't get too excited, 
your head will explode." 



MY MOTHER ALWAYS sits on the edges 
of things— chairs, ledges, tables— as if she 
suspects she will have to flee in an instant. 
This time it's Jeanine's old desk in Erudite 
headquarters that she sits on the edge of, her 
toes balanced on the floor and the cloudy 
light of the city glowing behind her. She is a 
woman of muscle twisted around bone. 

"I think we have to talk about your loy- 
alty," she says, but she doesn't sound like 
she's accusing me of something, she just 
sounds tired. For a moment she seems so 
worn that I feel like I can see right through 
her, but then she straightens, and the feeling 
is gone. 

"Ultimately, it was you who helped Tris 
and got that video released," she says. "No 
one else knows that, but I know it." 

"Listen." I lean forward to prop my elbows 
on my knees. "I didn't know what was in that 
file. I trusted Tris's judgment more than my 
own. That's all that happened." 

I thought telling Evelyn that I broke up 
with Tris would make it easier for my mother 
to trust me, and I was right— she has been 
warmer, more open, ever since I told that lie. 

"And now that you've seen the footage?" 
Evelyn says. "What do you think now? Do 
you think we should leave the city?" 

I know what she wants me to say— that I 
see no reason to join the outside world— but 
I'm not a good liar, so instead I select a part 
of the truth. 

"I'm afraid of it," I say. "I'm not sure it's 
smart to leave the city knowing the dangers 
that might be out there." 

She considers me for a moment, biting the 
inside of her cheek. I learned that habit from 
her— I used to chew my skin raw as I waited 
for my father to come home, unsure which 
version of him I would encounter, the one 
the Abnegation trusted and revered, or the 
one whose hands struck me. 

I run my tongue along the bite scars and 
swallow the memory like it's bile. 

She slides off the desk and moves to the 
window. "I've been receiving disturbing re- 
ports of a rebel organization among us." She 
looks up, raising an eyebrow. "People always 
organize into groups. That's a fact of our ex- 
istence. I just didn't expect it to happen this 

"What kind of organization?" 

"The kind that wants to leave the 
city," she says. "They released some kind of 
manifesto this morning. They call themselves 
the Allegiant." When she sees my confused 

look, she adds, "Because they're allied with 
the original purpose of our city, see?" 

"The original purpose— you mean, what 
was in the Edith Prior video? That we should 
send people outside when the city has a large 
Divergent population?" 

"That, yes. But also living in factions. The 
Allegiant claim that we're meant to be in fac- 
tions because we've been in them since the 
beginning." She shakes her head. "Some 
people will always fear change. But we can't 
indulge them." 

With the factions dismantled, part of me 
has felt like a man released from a long im- 
prisonment. I don't have to evaluate whether 
every thought I have or choice I make fits in- 
to a narrow ideology. I don't want the fac- 
tions back. 

But Evelyn hasn't liberated us like she 
thinks— she's just made us all factionless. 
She's afraid of what we would choose, if we 
were given actual freedom. And that means 

that no matter what I believe about the fac- 
tions, I'm relieved that someone, some- 
where, is defying her. 

I arrange my face into an empty expres- 
sion, but my heart is beating faster than be- 
fore. I have had to be careful, to stay in 
Evelyn's good graces. It's easy for me to lie to 
everyone else, but it's more difficult to lie to 
her, the only person who knew all the secrets 
of our Abnegation house, the violence con- 
tained within its walls. 

"What are you going to do about them?" I 

"I am going to get them under control, 
what else?" 

The word "control" makes me sit up 
straight, as rigid as the chair beneath me. In 
this city, "control" means needles and ser- 
ums and seeing without seeing; it means 
simulations, like the one that almost made 
me kill Tris, or the one that made the Daunt- 
less into an army. 

"With simulations?" I say slowly. 

She scowls. "Of course not! I am not 
Jeanine Matthews!" 

Her flare of anger sets me off. I say, "Don't 
forget that I barely know you, Evelyn." 

She winces at the reminder. "Then let me 
tell you that I will never resort to simulations 
to get my way. Death would be better." 

It's possible that death is what she will 
use— killing people would certainly keep 
them quiet, stifle their revolution before it 
begins. Whoever the Allegiant are, they need 
to be warned, and quickly. 

"I can find out who they are," I say. 

"I'm sure that you can. Why else would I 
have told you about them?" 

There are plenty of reasons she 
would tell me. To test me. To catch me. To 
feed me false information. I know what my 
mother is— she is someone for whom the end 
of a thing justifies the means of getting there, 

the same as my father, and the same, some- 
times, as me. 

"I'll do it, then. I'll find them." 

I rise, and her fingers, brittle as branches, 
close around my arm. "Thank you." 

I force myself to look at her. Her eyes are 
close above her nose, which is hooked at the 
end, like my own. Her skin is a middling col- 
or, darker than mine. For a moment I see her 
in Abnegation gray, her thick hair bound 
back with a dozen pins, sitting across the 
dinner table from me. I see her crouched in 
front of me, fixing my mismatched shirt but- 
tons before I go to school, and standing at 
the window, watching the uniform street for 
my father's car, her hands clasped— no, 
clenched, her tan knuckles white with ten- 
sion. We were united in fear then, and now 
that she isn't afraid anymore, part of me 
wants to see what it would be like to unite 
with her in strength. 

I feel an ache, like I betrayed her, the wo- 
man who used to be my only ally, and I turn 
away before I can take it all back and 

I leave Erudite headquarters amid a crowd 
of people, my eyes confused, hunting for fac- 
tion colors automatically when there are 
none left. I am wearing a gray shirt, blue 
jeans, black shoes— new clothes, but beneath 
them, my Dauntless tattoos. It is impossible 
to erase my choices. Especially these. 

I SET MY watch alarm for ten o'clock and 
fall asleep right away, without even shifting 
to a comfortable position. A few hours later 
the beeps don't wake me, but the frustrated 
shout of someone across the room does. I 
turn off the alarm, run my fingers through 
my hair, and half walk, half jog to one of the 
emergency staircases. The exit at the bottom 

will let me out in the alley, where I probably 
won't be stopped. 

Once I'm outside, the cool air wakes me 
up. I pull my sleeves down over my fingers to 
keep them warm. Summer is finally ending. 
There are a few people milling around the 
entrance to Erudite headquarters, but none 
of them notices me creeping across Michigan 
Avenue. There are some advantages to being 

I see Tobias standing in the middle of the 
lawn, wearing mixed faction colors— a gray 
T-shirt, blue jeans, and a black sweatshirt 
with a hood, representing all the factions my 
aptitude test told me I was qualified for. A 
backpack rests against his feet. 

"How did I do?" I say when I'm close 
enough for him to hear me. 

"Very well," he says. "Evelyn still hates 
you, but Christina and Cara have been re- 
leased without questioning." 

"Good." I smile. 

He pinches the front of my shirt, right over 
my stomach, and tugs me toward him, kiss- 
ing me softly. 

"Come on," he says as he pulls away. "I 
have a plan for this evening." 

"Oh, really?" 

"Yes, well, I realized that we've never been 
on an actual date." 

"Chaos and destruction do tend to take 
away a person's dating possibilities." 

"I would like to experience this 'date' phe- 
nomenon." He walks backward, toward the 
mammoth metal structure at the other end 
of the lawn, and I follow him. "Before you, I 
only went on group dates, and they were 
usually a disaster. They always ended up 
with Zeke making out with whatever girl he 
intended to make out with, and me sitting in 
awkward silence with some girl that I had 
somehow offended in some way early on." 

"You're not very nice," I say, grinning. 

"You're one to talk." 

"Hey, I could be nice if I tried." 

"Hmm." He taps his chin. "Say 
something nice, then." 
"You're very good-looking." 

He smiles, his teeth a flash in the dark. "I 
like this 'nice' thing." 

We reach the end of the lawn. The metal 
structure is larger and stranger up close than 
it was from far away. It's really a stage, and 
arcing above it are massive metal plates that 
curl in different directions, like an exploded 
aluminum can. We walk around one of the 
plates on the right side to the back of the 
stage, which rises at an angle from the 
ground. There, metal beams support the 
plates from behind. Tobias secures his back- 
pack on his shoulders and grabs one of the 
beams. Climbing. 

"This feels familiar," I say. One of the first 
things we did together was scale the Ferris 
wheel, but that time it was me, not him, who 
compelled us to climb higher. 

I push up my sleeves and follow him. My 
shoulder is still sore from the bullet wound, 
but it is mostly healed. Still, I bear most of 
my weight with my left arm and try to push 
with my feet whenever possible. I look down 
at the tangle of bars beneath me and beyond 
them, the ground, and laugh. 

Tobias climbs to a spot where two metal 
plates meet in a V, leaving enough room for 
two people to sit. He scoots back, wedging 
himself between the two plates, and reaches 
for my waist to help me when I get close 
enough. I don't really need the help, but I 
don't say so— I am too busy enjoying his 
hands on me. 

He takes a blanket out of his backpack and 
covers us with it, then produces two plastic 

"Would you like a clear head or a fuzzy 
one?" he says, peering into the bag. 

"Um ..." I tilt my head. "Clear. I think we 
have some things to talk about, right?" 


He takes out a small bottle with clear, bub- 
bling liquid in it, and as he twists open the 
cap, says, "I stole it from the Erudite kit- 
chens. Apparently it's delicious." 

He pours some in each cup, and I take a 
sip. Whatever it is, it's sweet as syrup and 
lemon-flavored and makes me cringe a little. 
My second sip is better. 

"Things to talk about," he says. 


"Well . . ." Tobias frowns into his cup. 
"Okay, so I understand why you worked with 
Marcus, and why you felt like you couldn't 
tell me. But . . ." 

"But you're angry," I say. "Because I lied to 
you. On several occasions." 

He nods, not looking at me. "It's not even 
the Marcus thing. It's further back than that. 
I don't know if you can understand what it 
was like to wake up alone, and know that you 
had gone"— to your death, is what I suspect 

he wants to say, but he can't even say the 
words —"to Erudite headquarters." 

"No, I probably can't." I take another sip, 
turning the sugary drink over in my mouth 
before swallowing. "Listen, I ... I used to 
think about giving my life for things, but I 
didn't understand what 'giving your life' 
really was until it was right there, about to be 
taken from me." 

I look up at him, and finally, he looks back 
at me. 

"I know now," I say. "I know I want to live. 
I know I want to be honest with you. But . . . 
but I can't do that, I won't do it, if you won't 
trust me, or if you talk to me in that condes- 
cending way you sometimes do—" 

"Condescending?" he says. "You were do- 
ing ridiculous, risky things—" 

"Yeah," I say. "And do you really think it 
helped to talk to me like I was a child who 
didn't know any better?" 

"What else was I supposed to do?" he de- 
mands. "You wouldn't see reason!" 

"Maybe reason wasn't what I needed!" I sit 
forward, not able to pretend I am relaxed 
anymore. "I felt like I was being eaten alive 
by guilt, and what I needed was your pa- 
tience and your kindness, not for you to yell 
at me. Oh, and for you to constantly keep 
your plans from me like I couldn't possibly 

"I didn't want to burden you more than 
you already were." 

"So do you think I'm a strong person, or 
not?" I scowl at him. "Because you seem to 
think I can take it when you're scolding me, 
but you don't think I can handle anything 
else? What does that mean?" 

"Of course I think you're a strong person." 
He shakes his head. "I just . . . I'm not used 
to telling people things. I'm used to handling 
things on my own." 

"I'm reliable," I say. "You can trust me. 
And you can let me be the judge of what I 
can handle." 

"Okay," he says, nodding. "But no more 
lies. Not ever." 


I feel stiff and squeezed, like my 
body was just forced into something too 
small for it. But that's not how I want the 
conversation to end, so I reach for his hand. 

"I'm sorry I lied to you," I say. "I really 

"Well," he says. "I didn't mean to make 
you feel like I didn't respect you." 

We stay there for a while, our hands 
clasped. I lean back against the metal plate. 
Above me, the sky is blank and dark, the 
moon shielded by clouds. I find a star ahead 
of us, as the clouds shift, but it seems to be 
the only one. When I tilt my head back, 
though, I can see the line of buildings along 

Michigan Avenue, like a row of sentries 
keeping watch over us. 

I am quiet until the stiff, squeezed feeling 
leaves me. In its place I now feel relief. It 
isn't usually that easy for me to let go of an- 
ger, but the past few weeks have been 
strange for both of us, and I am happy to re- 
lease the feelings I have been holding on to, 
the anger and the fear that he hates me and 
the guilt from working with his father behind 
his back. 

"This stuff is kind of gross," he says, drain- 
ing his cup and setting it down. 

"Yes, it is," I say, staring at what remains 
in mine. I drink it in one gulp, wincing as the 
bubbles burn my throat. "I don't know what 
the Erudite are always bragging about. 
Dauntless cake is much better." 

"I wonder what the Abnegation treat 
would have been, if they had one." 

"Stale bread." 

He laughs. "Plain oatmeal." 


"Sometimes I think I believe everything 
they taught us," he says. "But obviously not, 
since I'm sitting here holding your hand 
right now without having married you first." 

"What do the Dauntless teach about . . . 
that?" I say, nodding to our hands. 

"What do the Dauntless teach, hmm." He 
smirks. "Do whatever you want, but use pro- 
tection, is what they teach." 

I raise my eyebrows. Suddenly my face 
feels warm. 

"I think I'd like to find a middle ground for 
myself," he says. "To find that place between 
what I want and what I think is wise." 

"That sounds good." I pause. "But what do 
you want?" 

I think I know the answer, but I want to 
hear him say it. 

"Hmm." He grins, and leans forward onto 
his knees. He presses his hands to the metal 
plate, framing my head with his arms, and 

kisses me, slowly, on my mouth, under my 
jaw, right above my collarbone. I stay still, 
nervous about doing anything, in case it's 
stupid or he doesn't like it. But then I feel 
like a statue, like I am not really here at all, 
and so I touch his waist, hesitantly. 

Then his lips are on mine again, and he 
pulls his shirt out from under my hands so 
that I am touching his bare skin. I come to 
life, pressing closer, my hands creeping up 
his back, sliding over his shoulders. His 
breaths come faster and so do mine, and I 
taste the lemon-syrupfizz we just drank and I 
smell the wind on his skin and all I want is 
more, more. 

I push his shirt up. A moment ago I was 
cold, but I don't think either of us is cold 
now. His arm wraps around my waist, strong 
and certain, and his free hand tangles in my 
hair and I slow down, drinking it in— the 
smoothness of his skin, marked up and down 

with black ink, and the insistence of the kiss, 
and the cool air wrapped around us both. 

I relax, and I no longer feel like some kind 
of Divergent soldier, defying serums and 
government leaders alike. I feel softer, light- 
er, and like it is okay to laugh a little as his 
fingertips brush over my hips and the small 
of my back, or to sigh into his ear when he 
pulls me against him, burying his face in the 
side of my neck so that he can kiss me there. 
I feel like myself, strong and weak at once 
—allowed, at least for a little while, to be 

I don't know how long it is before we get 
cold again, and huddle under the blanket 

"It's getting more difficult to be wise," he 
says, laughing into my ear. 

I smile at him. "I think that's how it's sup- 
posed to be." 



I can feel it as I walk the cafeteria line with 
my tray, and see it in the huddled heads of a 
group of factionless as they lean over their 
oatmeal. Whatever is about to happen will 
happen soon. 

Yesterday when I left Evelyn's office I 
lingered in the hallway to eavesdrop on her 
next meeting. Before she closed the door, I 
heard her say something about a demonstra- 
tion. The question that is itching at the back 
of my mind is: Why didn't she tell me? 

She must not trust me. That means I'm not 
doing as good a job as her pretend right- 
hand man as I think I am. 

I sit down with the same breakfast as 
everyone else: a bowl of oatmeal with a 
sprinkle of brown sugar on it, and a mug of 
coffee. I watch the group of factionless as I 
spoon it into my mouth without tasting it. 
One of them— a girl, maybe fourteen— keeps 
flicking her eyes toward the clock. 

I'm halfway done with breakfast when I 
hear the shouts. The nervy factionless girl 
jolts from her seat as if stuck with a live wire, 
and they all start toward the door. I am right 
behind them, elbowing my way past slow- 
movers through the lobby of Erudite 
headquarters, where the portrait of Jeanine 
Matthews still lies in shreds on the floor. 

A group of factionless has already gathered 
outside, in the middle of Michigan Avenue. A 
layer of pale clouds covers the sun, making 
the daylight hazy and dull. I hear someone 
shout, "Death to the factions!" and others 
pick up the phrase, turning it into a chant, 
until it fills my ears, Death to the factions, 
death to the factions. I see their fists in the 
air, like excitable Dauntless, but without the 
Dauntless joy. Their faces are twisted with 

I push toward the middle of the group, and 
then I see what they're all gathered around: 
The huge, man-sized faction bowls from the 

Choosing Ceremony are turned on their 
sides, their contents spilling across the road, 
coals and glass and stone and earth and wa- 
ter all mingling together. 

I remember slicing into my palm to add 
my blood to the coals, my first act of defiance 
against my father. I remember the surge of 
power inside me, and the rush of relief. Es- 
cape. These bowls were my escape. 

Edward stands among them, shards of 
glass ground to dust beneath his heel, a 
sledgehammer held above his head. He 
brings it down on one of the overturned 
bowls, forcing a dent into the metal. Coal 
dust rises into the air. 

I have to stop myself from running at him. 
He can't destroy it, not that bowl, not the 
Choosing Ceremony, not the symbol of my 
triumph. Those things should not be 

The crowd is swelling, not just with fac- 
tionless wearing black armbands with empty 

white circles on them, but with people from 
every former faction, their arms bare. An 
Erudite man— his faction still indicated by 
his neatly parted hair —bursts free of the 
crowd just as Edward is pulling back the 
sledgehammer for another swing. He wraps 
his soft, ink-smudged hands around the 
handle, just above Edward's, and they push 
into each other, teeth gritted. 

I see a blond head across the crowd — Tris, 
wearing a loose blue shirt without sleeves, 
showing the edges of the faction tattoos on 
her shoulders. She tries to run to Edward 
and the Erudite man, but Christina stops her 
with both hands. 

The Erudite man's face turns purple. Ed- 
ward is taller and stronger than he is. He has 
no chance; he's a fool for trying. Edward rips 
the sledgehammer handle from the Erudite 
man's hands and swings again. But he's off 
balance, dizzy with rage— the sledgehammer 

hits the Erudite man in the shoulder at full 
force, metal cracking bone. 

For a moment all I hear is the Erudite 
man's screams. It's like everyone is taking a 

Then the crowd explodes into a frenzy, 
everyone running toward the bowls, toward 
Edward, toward the Erudite man. They col- 
lide with one another and then with me, 
shoulders and elbows and heads hitting me 
over and over again. 

I don't know where to run: to the Erudite 
man, to Edward, to Tris? I can't think; I can't 
breathe. The crowd carries me toward Ed- 
ward, and I grab his arm. 

"Let go!" I shout over the noise. His single 
bright eye fixes on me, and he bares his 
teeth, trying to wrench himself away. 

I bring my knee up, into his side. He 
stumbles back, losing his grip on the sledge- 
hammer. I hold it close to my leg and start 
toward Tris. 

She is somewhere in front of me, strug- 
gling toward the Erudite man. I watch as a 
woman's elbow hits her in the cheek, sending 
her reeling backward. Christina shoves the 
woman away. 

Then a gun goes off. Once, twice. Three 

The crowd scatters, everyone running in 
terror from the threat of bullets, and I try to 
see who, if anyone, was shot, but the rush of 
bodies is too intense. I can barely see 

Tris and Christina crouch next to the 
Erudite man with the shattered shoulder. 
His face is bloody and his clothes are dirty 
with footprints. His combed Erudite hair is 
tousled. He isn't moving. 

A few feet away from him, Edward lies in a 
pool of his own blood. The bullet hit him in 
the gut. There are other people on the 
ground too, people I don't recognize, people 
who got trampled or shot. I suspect the 

bullets were meant for Edward and Edward 
alone— the others were just bystanders. 

I look around wildly but I don't see the 
shooter. Whoever it was seems to have dis- 
solved into the crowd. 

I drop the sledgehammer next to the den- 
ted bowl and kneel beside Edward, Abnega- 
tion stones digging into my kneecaps. His re- 
maining eye moves back and forth beneath 
his eyelid— he's alive, for now. 

"We have to get him to the hospital," I say 
to whoever is listening. Almost everyone is 

I look over my shoulder at Tris and the 
Erudite man, who hasn't moved. "Is he . . . ?" 

Her fingers are on his throat, taking his 
pulse, and her eyes are wide and empty. She 
shakes her head. No, he is not alive. I didn't 
think he was. 

I close my eyes. The faction bowls are prin- 
ted on my eyelids, tipped on their sides, their 
contents in a pile on the street. The symbols 

of our old way of life, destroyed— a man 
dead, others injured— and for what? 

For nothing. For Evelyn's empty, narrow 
vision: a city where factions are wrenched 
away from people against their will. 

She wanted us to have more than five 
choices. Now we have none. 

I know for sure, then, that I can't be her 
ally, and I never could have. 

"We have to go," Tris says, and I know 
she's not talking about leaving Michigan Av- 
enue or taking Edward to 
the hospital; she's talking about the city. 
"We have to go," I repeat. 
The makeshift hospital at Erudite headquar- 
ters smells like chemicals, almost gritty in 
my nose. I close my eyes as I wait for Evelyn. 

I'm so angry I don't even want to sit here, I 
just want to pack up my things and leave. 
She must have planned that demonstration, 
or she wouldn't have known about it the day 
before, and she must have known that it 

would get out of control, with tensions run- 
ning as high as they are. But she did it any- 
way. Making a big statement about the fac- 
tions was more important to her than safety 
or the potential loss of lives. I don't know 
why that surprises me. 

I hear the elevator doors slide open, and 
her voice: "Tobias!" 

She rushes toward me and seizes my 
hands, which are sticky with blood. Her dark 
eyes are wide with fear as she says, "Are you 

She's worried about me. The thought is a 
little pinprick of heat inside me— she must 
love me, to worry about me. She must still be 
capable of love. 

"The blood is Edward's. I helped carry him 

"How is he?" she says. 

I shake my head. "Dead." 

I don't know how else to say it. 

She shrinks back, releasing my 

hands, and sits on one of the waiting room 
chairs. My mother embraced Edward after 
he defected from Dauntless. She must have 
taught him to be a warrior again, after the 
loss of his eye and his faction and his footing. 
I never knew they were so close, but I can see 
it now, in the gleam of tears in her eyes and 
the trembling of her fingers. It's the most 
emotion I've seen her show since I was a 
child, since my father slammed her into our 
living room walls. 

I press the memory away as if stuffing it 
into a drawer that is too small for it. 

"I'm sorry," I say. I don't know if I really 
mean it or if I'm just saying it so she still 
thinks I'm on her side. Then I add tentat- 
ively, "Why didn't you tell me about the 

She shakes her head. "I didn't know about 

She's lying. I know. I decide to let her. In 
order to stay on her good side, I have to 

avoid conflict with her. Or maybe I just don't 
want to press the issue with Edward's death 
looming over both of us. Sometimes it's hard 
for me to tell where strategy ends and sym- 
pathy for her begins. 

"Oh." I scratch behind my ear. "You can go 
in and see him, if you want." 

"No." She seems far away. "I know what 
bodies look like." Drifting further. 

"Maybe I should go." 

"Stay," she says. She touches the empty 
chair between us. "Please." 

I take the seat beside her, and though I tell 
myself that I am just an undercover agent 
obeying his supposed leader, I feel like I am 
a son comforting his grieving mother. 

We sit with our shoulders touching, our 
breaths falling into the same rhythm, and we 
don't say a word. 


CHRISTINA TURNS A black stone over and 
over in her hand as we walk. It takes me a 
few seconds to realize that it's actually a 
piece of coal, from the Dauntless Choosing 
Ceremony bowl. 

"I didn't really want to bring this up, but I 
can't stop thinking about it," she says. "That 
of the ten transfer initiates we started with, 
only six are still alive." 

Ahead of us is the Hancock building, and 
beyond it, Lake Shore Drive, the lazy strip of 
pavement that I once flew over like a bird. 
We walk the cracked sidewalk side by side, 
our clothes smeared with Edward's blood, 
now dry. 

It hasn't hit me yet: that Edward, by far 
the most talented transfer initiate we had, 
the boy whose blood I cleaned off the dorm- 
itory floor, is dead. He's dead now. 

"And of the nice ones," I say, "it's just you, 
me, and . . . Myra, probably." 

I haven't seen Myra since she left the 
Dauntless compound with Edward, right 
after his eye was claimed by a butter knife. I 
know they broke up not long after that, but I 
never found out where she went. I don't 
think I ever exchanged more than a few 
words with her anyway. 

A set of doors to the Hancock building are 
already open, dangling from their hinges. 
Uriah said that he would come here early to 
turn on the generator, and sure enough, 
when I touch my finger to the elevator but- 
ton, it glows through my fingernail. 

"Have you been here before?" I say as we 
walk into the elevator. 

"No," Christina says. "Not inside, I mean. I 
didn't get to go zip lining, remember?" 

"Right." I lean against the wall. "You 
should try to go before we leave." 

"Yeah." She's wearing red lipstick. 
It reminds me of the way candy stains 
children's skin if they eat it too sloppily. 

"Sometimes I get where Evelyn's coming 
from. So many awful things have happened, 
sometimes it feels like a good idea to stay 
here and just ... try to clean up this mess be- 
fore we get ourselves involved in another." 
She smiles a little. "But of course, I'm not go- 
ing to do that," she adds. "I'm not even sure 
why. Curiosity, I guess." 

"Have you talked to your parents about 

Sometimes I forget that Christina isn't like 
me, with no family loyalty to tie her to one 
place anymore. She has a mother and a little 
sister, both former 

"They have to look after my sister," she 
says. "They don't know if it's safe out there; 
they don't want to risk her." 

"But they would be okay with you 

"They were okay with me joining another 
faction. They'll be okay with this, too," she 

says. She looks down at her shoes. "They just 
want me to live an honest life, you know? 
And I can't do that here. I just know that I 

The elevator doors open, and the wind hits 
us immediately, still warm but woven with 
threads of winter cold. I hear voices coming 
from the roof, and I climb the ladder to get to 
them. It bounces with each of my footsteps, 
but Christina holds it steady for me until I 
reach the top. 

Uriah and Zeke are there, throwing 
pebbles off the roof and listening for the clat- 
ter when they hit the windows. Uriah tries to 
bump Zeke's elbow before he throws, to mess 
him up, but Zeke is too quick for him. 

"Hey," they say in unison when they spot 
Christina and me. 

"Wait, are you guys related or something?" 
Christina says, grinning. They both laugh, 
but Uriah looks a little dazed, like he's not 
quite connected to this moment or this place. 

I guess losing someone the way he lost Mar- 
lene can do that to a person, though that's 
not what it 
did to me. 

There are no slings on the roof for the zip 
line, and that's not why we came. I don't 
know why the others did, but I wanted to be 
up high— I wanted to see as far as I could. 
But all the land west of where I am is black, 
like it's draped in a dark blanket. For a mo- 
ment I think I can make out a glimmer of 
light on the horizon, but the next it's gone, 
just a trick of the eyes. 

The others are quiet too. I wonder if we're 
all thinking the same thing. 

"What do you think's out there?" Uriah fi- 
nally says. 

Zeke just shrugs, but Christina ventures a 
guess. "What if it's just more of the same? 
Just . . . more crumbling city, more factions, 
more of everything?" 

"Can't be," Uriah says, shaking his head. 
"There has to be something else." 

"Or there's nothing," Zeke suggests. 
"Those people who put us all in here, they 
could just be dead. Everything could be 

I shiver. I had never thought of that before, 
but he's right— we don't know what's 
happened out there since they put us in here, 
or how many generations have lived and died 
since they did. We could be the last people 

"It doesn't matter," I say, more sternly 
than I mean to. "It doesn't matter what's out 
there, we have to see it for ourselves. And 
then we'll deal with it 
once we have." 

We stand there for a long time. I follow the 
bumpy edges of buildings with my eyes until 
all the lit windows smear into a line. Then 
Uriah asks Christina about the riot, and our 

still, silent moment passes as if carried away 
by the wind. 

The next day, Evelyn stands among the 
pieces of Jeanine Matthews's portrait in the 
Erudite headquarters lobby and announces a 
new set of rules. Former faction members 
and factionless alike are gathered in the 
space and spilling out into the street to hear 
what our new leader has to say, and faction- 
less soldiers line the walls, their fingers 
poised over the triggers of their guns. Keep- 
ing us under control. 

"Yesterday's events made it clear that we 
are no longer able to trust each other," she 
says. She looks ashen and exhausted. "We 
will be introducing more structure into 
everyone's lives until our situation is more 
stable. The first of these measures is a 
curfew: Everyone is required to return to 
their assigned living spaces at nine o'clock at 
night. They will not leave those spaces until 
eight o'clock the next morning. Guards will 

be patrolling the streets at all hours to keep 
us safe." 

I snort and try to cover it up with a cough. 
Christina elbows me in the side and touches 
her finger to her lips. I don't know why she 
cares— it's not like Evelyn can hear me from 
all the way at the front of the room. 

Tori, former leader of Dauntless, ousted by 
Evelyn herself, stands a few feet away from 
me, her arms crossed. Her mouth twitches 
into a sneer. 

"It's also time to prepare for our new, fac- 
tionless way of life. Starting today, everyone 
will begin to learn the jobs the factionless 
have done for as long as we can remember. 
We will then all do those jobs on a rotation 
schedule, in addition to the other duties that 
have traditionally been performed by the fac- 
tions." Evelyn smiles without really smiling. 
I don't know how she does it. "We will all 
contribute equally to our new city, as it 

should be. The factions have divided us, but 
now we will be united. Now, and forever." 

All around me the factionless cheer. I just 
feel uneasy. I don't disagree with her, ex- 
actly, but the same faction members who 
rose up against Edward yesterday won't re- 
main quiet after this, either. Evelyn's hold on 
this city is not as strong as she might like. 

I don't want to wrestle with the crowds 
after Evelyn's announcement, so I weave 
through the hallways until I find one of the 
staircases in the back, the one we climbed to 
reach Jeanine's laboratory not too long ago. 
The steps were crowded with bodies then. 
Now they are clean and cool, like nothing 
ever happened here. 

As I walk past the fourth floor, I hear a 
yell, and some scuffling sounds. I open the 
door to a cluster of people— young, younger 
than I am, and all sporting factionless arm- 
bands—gathered around a young man on the 

Not just a young man— a Candor, dressed 
in black and white from head to toe. 

I run toward them, and when I see a tall 
factionless girl draw back her foot to kick 
again, I shout, "Hey!" 

No use— the kick hits the Candor boy in 
the side, and he groans, twisting away from 

"Hey!" I yell again, and this time the girl 
turns. She's much taller than I am— a good 
six inches, in fact— but I'm only angry, not 

"Back up," I say. "Back away from him." 

"He's in violation of the dress code. I'm 
well within my rights, and I don't take orders 
from faction lovers," she says, her eyes on 
the ink creeping over my collarbone. 

"Becks," the factionless boy beside her 
says. "That's the Prior video girl." 

The others look impressed, but the girl just 
sneers. "So?" 

"So," I say, "I had to hurt a lot of people to 
get through Dauntless initiation, and I'll do it 
to you, too, if I have to." 

I unzip my blue sweatshirt and toss it at 
the Candor boy, who looks at me from the 
ground, blood streaming from his eyebrow. 
He pushes himself up, still holding his side 
with one hand, and pulls the sweatshirt 
around his shoulders like a blanket. 

"There," I say. "Now he's not violating the 
dress code." 

The girl tests the situation in her mind, 
evaluating whether she wants to fight me or 
not. I can practically hear what she's think- 
ing—I'm small, so I'm an easy target, but I'm 
Dauntless, so I'm not that easy to beat. 
Maybe she knows that I've killed people, or 
maybe she just doesn't want to get into 
trouble, but she's losing her nerve; I can tell 
by the uncertain set of her mouth. 

"You'd better watch your back," she says. 

"I guarantee you that I don't need to," I 
say. "Now get out of here." 

I stay just long enough to see them scatter, 
then keep walking. The Candor boy calls, 
"Wait! Your sweatshirt!" 

"Keep it!" I call back. 

I turn a corner that I think will take me to 
another staircase, but I end up in another 
blank hallway, just like the last one I was in. 
I think I hear footsteps behind me, and I spin 
around, ready to fight the factionless girl off, 
but there's no one there. 

I must be getting paranoid. 

I open one of the doors off the main cor- 
ridor, hoping to find a window so I can reori- 
ent myself, but I find only a ransacked labor- 
atory, beakers and test tubes scattered across 
each counter. Torn pieces of paper litter the 
floor, and I'm bending to pick one up when 
the lights shut off. 

I lunge toward the door. A hand grabs my 
arm and drags me to the side. Someone 

shoves a sack over my head while someone 
else pushes me against the wall. I thrash 
against them, struggling with the fabric cov- 
ering my face, and all I can think is, Not 
again not again not again. I twist one arm 
free and punch, hitting someone in a 
shoulder or a chin, I can't tell. 

"Hey!" a voice says. "That hurt!" 

"We're sorry for frightening you, Tris," an- 
other voice says, "but anonymity is integral 
to our operation. We mean you no harm." 

"Let go of me, then!" I say, almost growl- 
ing. All the hands holding me to the wall fall 

"Who are you?" I demand. 

"We are the Allegiant," the voice replies. 
"And we are many, yet we are no one. . . ." 

I can't help it: I laugh. Maybe it's the 
shock— or the fear, my pounding heart slow- 
ing by the second, my hands shaking with 

The voice continues, "We have heard that 
you are not loyal to Evelyn Johnson and her 
factionless lackeys." 

"This is ridiculous." 

"Not as ridiculous as trusting someone 
with your identity when you don't have to." 

I try to see through the fibers of whatever 
is over my head, but they are too dense and it 
is too dark. I try to relax against the wall, but 
it's difficult without my vision to orient me. I 
crush the side of a beaker under my shoe. 

"No, I'm not loyal to her," I say. 
"Why does that matter?" 

"Because it means you want to leave," the 
voice says. I feel a prickle of excitement. "We 
want to ask you for a favor, Tris Prior. We're 
going to have a meeting tomorrow night, at 
midnight. We want you to bring your Daunt- 
less friends." 

"Okay," I say. "Let me ask you this: If I'm 
going to see who you are tomorrow, why is it 

so important to keep this thing over my head 

This seems to temporarily stump whoever 
I'm talking to. 

"A day contains many dangers," the voice 
says. "We'll see you tomorrow, at midnight, 
in the place where you made your 

All at once, the door swings open, blowing 
the sack against my cheeks, and I hear run- 
ning footsteps down the hallway. By the time 
I'm able to pull the sack from my head, the 
corridor is silent. I look down at it— it's a 
dark-blue pillowcase with the words "Faction 
before blood" painted on it. 

Whoever they are, they certainly have a 
flair for the dramatic. 

The place where you made your 

There's only one place that could be: 
Candor headquarters, where I succumbed to 
the truth serum. 

When I finally make it back to the 
dormitory that evening, I find a note from 
Tobias tucked under the glass of water on my 
bedside table. 

Your brother's trial will be 
tomorrow morning, and it will 
be private. I can't go or I'll 
raise suspicion, but I'll get you 
the verdict as soon as possible. 
Then we can make some kind of 

No matter what, this will 

be over soon. 



IT'S NINE O'CLOCK. They could be de- 
ciding Caleb's verdict right now, as I tie my 
shoes, as I straighten my sheets for the 
fourth time today. I put my hands through 
my hair. The factionless only make trials 

private when they feel the verdict is obvious, 
and Caleb was Jeanine's right-hand man be- 
fore she was killed. 

I shouldn't worry about his verdict. It's 
already decided. All of Jeanine's closest asso- 
ciates will be executed. 

Why do you care? I ask myself. He be- 
trayed you. He didn't try to stop your 

I don't care. I do care. I don't know. 

"Hey, Tris," Christina says, rapping her 
knuckles against the door frame. Uriah lurks 
behind her. He still smiles all the time, but 
now his smiles look like they're made of wa- 
ter, about to drip down his face. 

"You had some news?" she says. 

I check the room again, though I already 
know it's empty. Everyone is at breakfast, as 
required by our schedules. I asked Uriah and 
Christina to skip a meal so that I could tell 
them something. My stomach is already 

"Yeah," I say. 

They sit on the bed across from mine, and 
I tell them about getting cornered in one of 
the Erudite laboratories the night before, 
about the pillowcase and the Allegiant and 
the meeting. 

"I'm surprised all you did was punch one 
of them," Uriah says. 

"Well, I was outnumbered," I say, feeling 
defensive. It wasn't very Dauntless of me to 
just trust them immediately, but these are 
strange times. And I'm not sure how Daunt- 
less I really am, anyway, now that the fac- 
tions are 

I feel a strange little ache at the thought, 
right in the middle of my chest. Some things 
are hard to let go of. 

"So what do you think they want?" 
Christina says. "Just to leave the city?" 

"It sounds that way, but I don't know," I 

"How do we know they're not Evelyn's 
people, trying to trick us into betraying her?" 

"I don't know that, either," I say. "But it's 
going to be impossible to get out of the city 
without someone's help, and I'm not just go- 
ing to stay here, learning how to drive buses 
and going to bed when I'm told to." 

Christina gives Uriah a worried look. 

"Hey," I say. "You don't have to come, but 
I need to get out of here. I need to know who 
Edith Prior was, and who's waiting for us 
outside the fence, if anyone. I don't know 
why, but I need to." 

I take a deep breath. I'm not sure where 
that swell of desperation came from, but now 
that I've acknowledged it, it's impossible to 
ignore, like a living thing has awakened from 
a long sleep inside me. It writhes in my 
stomach and throat. I need to leave. I need 
the truth. 

For once, the weak smile playing over 
Uriah's lips is gone. "So do I," he 


"Okay," Christina says. Her dark eyes are 
still troubled, but she shrugs. "So we go to 
the meeting." 

"Good. Can one of you tell Tobias? I'm 
supposed to be keeping my distance, since 
we're 'broken up,'" I say. "Let's meet in the 
alley at eleven thirty." 

"I'll tell him. I think I'm in his group 
today," Uriah says. "Learning about the 
factories. I can't wait." He smirks. "Can I tell 
Zeke, too? Or is he not trustworthy enough?" 

"Go ahead. Just make sure he doesn't 
spread it around." 

I check my watch again. Nine fifteen. 
Caleb's verdict has to be decided by now; it's 
almost time for everyone to go learn their 
factionless jobs. I feel like the slightest thing 
could make me jump right out of my skin. 
My knee bounces of its own volition. 

Christina puts her hand on my shoulder, 
but she doesn't ask me about it, and I'm 
grateful. I don't know what I would say. 

Christina and I weave a complicated path 
through Erudite headquarters on our way to 
the back staircase, avoiding patrolling fac- 
tionless. I pull my sleeve down over my 
wrist. I drew a map on my arm before I 
left— I know how to get to Candor headquar- 
ters from here, but I don't know the side 
streets that will keep us away from prying 
factionless eyes. 

Uriah waits for us just outside the door. 
He wears all black, but I can see a hint of Ab- 
negation gray peeking over the collar of his 
sweatshirt. It's strange to see my Dauntless 
friends in Abnegation colors, as if they've 
been with me my entire life. Sometimes it 
feels that way anyway. 

"I told Four and Zeke, but they're going to 
meet us there," Uriah says. "Let's go." 

We run in a pack down the alley toward 
Monroe Street. I resist the urge to wince at 
each of our loud footsteps. It's more import- 
ant to be quick than silent at this point, any- 
way. We turn onto Monroe, and I check be- 
hind us for factionless patrols. I see dark 
shapes moving closer to Michigan Avenue, 
but they disappear behind the row of build- 
ings without stopping. 

"Where's Cara?" I whisper to Christina, 
when we're on State Street and far enough 
away from Erudite headquarters that it's safe 
to talk. 

"I don't know, I don't think she got an in- 
vitation," Christina says. "Which is really 
bizarre. I know she wants to—" 

"Shh!" Uriah says. "Next turn?" 

I use my watch light to see the words writ- 
ten on my arm. "Randolph Street!" 

We settle into a rhythm, our shoes slap- 
ping on the pavement, our breaths pulsing 

almost in unison. Despite the burn in my 
muscles, it feels good to run. 

My legs ache by the time we reach the 
bridge, but then I see the Merciless Mart 
across the marshy river, abandoned and un- 
lit, and I smile through the pain. My pace 
slows when I am across the bridge, and Uri- 
ah slings an arm across my shoulders. 

"And now," he says, "we get to walk up a 
million flights of stairs." 

"Maybe they turned the elevators on?" 

"Not a chance." He shakes his head. "I bet 
Evelyn's monitoring all the electricity us- 
age—it's the best way to figure out if people 
are meeting in secret." 

I sigh. I may like to run, but I hate climb- 
ing stairs. 

When we finally reach the top of the stairs, 
our chests heaving, it is five minutes to mid- 
night. The others go ahead while I catch my 
breath near the elevator bank. Uriah was 
right— there isn't a single light on that I can 

see, apart from the exit signs. It is in their 
blue glow that I see Tobias emerge from the 
interrogation room up ahead. 

Since our date I have spoken to him only 
in covert messages. I have to resist the urge 
to throw myself at him and brush my fingers 
over the curl of his lip and the crease in his 
cheek when he smiles and the hard line of his 
eyebrow and jaw. But it's two minutes to 
midnight. We don't have any time. 

He wraps his arms around me and holds 
me tight for a few seconds. His breaths tickle 
my ear, and I close my eyes, letting myself fi- 
nally relax. He smells like wind and sweat 
and soap, like Tobias and like safety. 

"Should we go in?" he says. "Whoever they 
are, they're probably prompt." 

"Yes." My legs are trembling from overex- 
ertion— I can't imagine going down the stairs 
and running back to Erudite headquarters 
later. "Did you find out about Caleb?" 

He winces. "Maybe we should talk 

about that later." 

That's all the answer I need. 

"They're going to execute him, aren't they," 
I say softly. 

He nods, and takes my hand. I don't know 
how to feel. I try not to feel anything. 

Together we walk into the room where To- 
bias and I were once interrogated under the 
influence of truth serum. The place where 
you made your confession. 

A circle of lit candles is arranged on the 
floor over one of the Candor scales set into 
the tile. There is a mix of familiar and unfa- 
miliar faces in the room: Susan and Robert 
stand together, talking; Peter is alone on the 
side of the room, his arms crossed; Uriah 
and Zeke are with Tori and a few other 
Dauntless; Christina is with her mother and 
sister; and in a corner are two nervous-look- 
ing Erudite. New outfits can't erase the divi- 
sions between us; they are ingrained. 

Christina beckons to me. "This is my mom, 
Stephanie," she says, indicating a woman 
with gray streaks in her dark curly hair. "And 
my sister, Rose. Mom, Rose, this is my friend 
Tris, and my initiation instructor, Four." 

"Obviously," Stephanie says. "We saw their 
interrogations several weeks ago, Christina." 

"I know that, I was just being polite— " 
"Politeness is deception in—" 

"Yeah, yeah, I know." Christina rolls her 

Her mother and sister, I notice, look at 
each other with something like wariness or 
anger or both. Then her sister turns to me 
and says, "So you killed Christina's 

Her words create a cold feeling inside me, 
like a streak of ice divides one side of my 
body from the other. I want to answer, to de- 
fend myself, but I can't find the words. 

"Rose!" Christina says, scowling at her. At 
my side, Tobias straightens, his muscles 
tensing. Ready for a fight, as always. 

"I just thought we would air everything 
out," Rose says. "It wastes less time." 

"And you wonder why I left our faction," 
Christina says. "Being honest doesn't mean 
you say whatever you want, whenever you 
want. It means that what you choose to say is 

"A lie of omission is still a lie." 

"You want the truth? I'm uncomfortable 
and don't want to be here right now. I'll see 
you guys later." She takes my arm and walks 
Tobias and me away from her family, shak- 
ing her head the whole time. "Sorry about 
that. They're not really the forgiving type." 

"It's fine," I say, though it's not. 

I thought that when I received Christina's 
forgiveness, the hard part of Will's death 
would be over. But when you kill someone 
you love, the hard part is never over. It just 

gets easier to distract yourself from what 
you've done. 

My watch reads twelve o'clock. A door 
across the room opens, and in walk two lean 
silhouettes. The first is Johanna Reyes, 
former spokesperson of Amity, identifiable 
by the scar that crosses her face and the hint 
of yellow peeking out from under her black 
jacket. The second is another woman, but I 
can't see her face, just that she is wearing 

I feel a spike of terror. She looks almost 
like . . . Jeanine. 

No, I saw her die. Jeanine is dead. 

The woman comes closer. She is 
statuesque and blond, like Jeanine. A pair of 
glasses dangles from her front pocket, and 
her hair is in a braid. An Erudite from head 
to foot, but not Jeanine Matthews. 


Cara and Johanna are the leaders of the 

"Hello," Cara says, and all conversation 
stops. She smiles, but on her the expression 
looks compulsory, like she's just adhering to 
a social convention. "We aren't supposed to 
be here, so I'm going to keep this meeting 
short. Some of you— Zeke, Tori— have been 
helping us for the past few days." 

I stare at Zeke. Zeke has been helping 
Cara? I guess I forgot that he was once a 
Dauntless spy. Which is probably when he 
proved his loyalty to Cara— he had some kind 
of friendship with her before she left Erudite 
headquarters not long ago. 

He looks at me, wiggles his eyebrows, and 

Johanna continues, "Some of you are here 
because we want to ask for your help. All of 
you are here because you don't trust Evelyn 
Johnson to determine the fate of this city." 

Cara touches her palms together in front of 
her. "We believe in following the guidance of 
the city's founders, which has been expressed 

in two ways: the formation of the factions, 
and the Divergent mission expressed by 
Edith Prior, to send people outside the fence 
to help whoever is out there once we have a 
large Divergent population. We believe that 
even if we have not reached that Divergent 
population size, the situation in our city has 
become dire enough to send people outside 
the fence anyway. 

"In accordance with the intentions of our 
city's founders, we have two goals: to over- 
throw Evelyn and the factionless so that we 
can reestablish the factions, and to send 
some of our number outside the city to see 
what's out there. Johanna will be heading up 
the former effort, and I will be heading up 
the latter, which is what we will mostly be fo- 
cusing on tonight." She presses a loose 
strand of hair back into her braid. "Not many 
of us will be able to go, because a crowd that 
large would draw too much attention. Evelyn 
won't let us leave without a fight, so I 

thought it would be best to recruit people 
who I know to be experienced with surviving 

I glance at Tobias. We certainly are experi- 
enced with danger. 

"Christina, Tris, Tobias, Tori, Zeke, and 
Peter are my selections," Cara says. "You 
have all proven your skills to me in one way 
or another, and it's for that reason that I'd 
like to ask you to come with me outside the 
city. You are under no obligation to agree, of 

"Peter?" I demand, without thinking. I 
can't imagine what Peter could have done to 
"prove his skills" to Cara. 

"He kept the Erudite from killing you," 
Cara says mildly. "Who do you think 
provided him with the technology to fake 
your death?" 

I raise my eyebrows. I had never thought 
about it before— too much happened after 
my failed execution for me to dwell on the 

details of my rescue. But of course, Cara was 
the only wellknown defector from Erudite at 
that time, the only person Peter would have 
known to ask for help. Who else could have 
helped him? Who else would have known 

I don't raise another objection. I don't 
want to leave this city with Peter, but I'm too 
desperate to leave to make a fuss about it. 

"That's a lot of Dauntless," a girl at the side 
of the room says, looking skeptical. She has 
thick eyebrows that don't stop growing in the 
middle, and pale skin. When she turns her 
head, I see black ink right behind her ear. A 
Dauntless transfer to Erudite, no doubt. 

"True," Cara says. "But what we need right 
now are people with the skills to get out of 
the city unscathed, and I think Dauntless 
training makes them highly qualified for that 

"I'm sorry, but I don't think I can go," Zeke 
says. "I couldn't leave Shauna here. Not after 
her sister just . . . well, you know." 

"I'll go," Uriah says, his hand popping up. 
"I'm Dauntless. I'm a good shot. And I 
provide much-needed eye candy." 

I laugh. Cara does not seem to be amused, 
but she nods. "Thank you." 

"Cara, you'll need to get out of the city 
fast," the Dauntless-turned-Erudite girl says. 
"Which means you should get someone to 
operate the trains." 

"Good point," Cara says. "Does anyone 
here know how to drive a train?" 

"Oh. I do," the girl says. "Was that 
not implied?" 

The pieces of the plan come together. Jo- 
hanna suggests we take Amity trucks from 
the end of the railroad tracks out of the city, 
and she volunteers to supply them to us. 
Robert offers to help her. Stephanie and 
Rose volunteer to monitor Evelyn's 

movements in the hours before the escape, 
and to report any unusual behavior to the 
Amity compound by two-way radio. The 
Dauntless who came with Tori offer to find 
weapons for us. The Erudite girl prods at any 
weaknesses she sees, and so does Cara, and 
soon they are all shored up, like we have just 
built a secure structure. 

There is only one question left. Cara 
asks it: 

"When should we go?" 
And I volunteer an answer: 
"Tomorrow night." 



THE NIGHT AIR slips into my lungs, and I 
feel like it is one of my last breaths. Tomor- 
row I will leave this place and seek another. 

Uriah, Zeke, and Christina start toward 
Erudite headquarters, and I hold Tris's hand 
to keep her back. 

"Wait," I say. "Let's go somewhere." 

"Go somewhere? But . . ." 

"Just for a little while." I tug her toward 
the corner of the building. At night I can al- 
most see what the water looked like when it 
filled the empty canal, dark and patterned 
with moonlit ripples. "You're with me, re- 
member? They're not going to arrest you." 

A twitch at the corner of her mouth —al- 
most a smile. 

Around the corner, she leans against the 
wall and I stand in front of her, the river at 
my back. She's wearing something dark 
around her eyes to make their color stand 
out, bright and striking. 

"I don't know what to do." She presses her 
hands to her face, curling her fingers into her 
hair. "About Caleb, I mean." 

"You don't?" 

She moves one hand aside to look at me. 

"Tris." I set my hands on the wall on either 
side of her face and lean into them. "You 
don't want him to die. I know you don't." 

"The thing is . . ." She closes her eyes. "I'm 
so . . . angry. I try not to think about him be- 
cause when I do I just want to . . ." 

"I know. God, I know." My entire life I've 
daydreamed about killing Marcus. Once I 
even decided how I would do it— with a knife, 
so I could feel the warmth leave him, so I 
could be close enough to watch the light 
leave his eyes. Making that decision 
frightened me as much as his violence ever 

"My parents would want me to save him, 
though." Her eyes open and lift to the sky. 
"They would say it's selfish to let someone 
die just because they wronged you. Forgive, 
forgive, forgive." 

"This isn't about what they want, Tris." 

"Yes, it is!" She presses away from the 
wall. "It's always about what they want. Be- 
cause he belongs to them more than he be- 
longs to me. And I want to make them proud 
of me. It's all I want." 

Her pale eyes are steady on mine, determ- 
ined. I have never had parents who set good 
examples, parents whose expectations were 
worth living up to, but she did. I can see 
them within her, the courage and the beauty 
they pressed into her like a handprint. 

I touch her cheek, sliding my fingers into 
her hair. "I'll get him out." 


"I'll get him out of his cell. Tomorrow, be- 
fore we leave." I nod. "I'll do it." 
"Really? Are you sure?" 
"Of course I'm sure." 

"I . . ." She frowns up at me. "Thank you. 
You're . . . amazing." 

"Don't say that. You haven't found out 
about my ulterior motives yet." I grin. "You 
see, I didn't bring you here to talk to you 
about Caleb, actually." 

I set my hands on her hips and push her 
gently back against the wall. She looks up at 

me, her eyes clear and eager. I lean in close 
enough to taste her breaths, but pull back 
when she leans in, teasing. 

She hooks her fingers in my belt loops and 
pulls me against her, so I have to catch my- 
self on my forearms. She tries to kiss me but 
I tilt my head to dodge her, kissing just un- 
der her ear, then along her jaw to her throat. 
Her skin is soft and tastes like salt, like a 
night run. 

"Do me a favor," she whispers into my ear, 
"and never have pure motives again." 

She puts her hands on me, touching all the 
places I am marked, down my back and over 
my sides. Her fingertips slip under the waist- 
band of my jeans and hold me against her. I 
breathe against the side of her neck, unable 
to move. 

Finally we kiss, and it is a relief. She sighs, 
and I feel a wicked smile creep across my 

I lift her up, letting the wall bear most of 
her weight, and her legs drape around my 
waist. She laughs into another kiss, and I feel 
strong, but so does she, her fingers stern 
around my arms. The night air slips into my 
lungs, and I feel like it is one of my first 



THE BROKEN BUILDINGS in the Dauntless 
sector look like doorways to other worlds. 
Ahead of me I see the Pire piercing the sky. 

The pulse in my fingertips marks the 
passing seconds. The air still feels rich in my 
lungs, though summer is drawing to a close. 
I used to run all the time and fight all the 
time because I cared about muscles. Now my 
feet have saved me too often, and I can't sep- 
arate running and fighting from what they 
are: a way to escape danger, a way to stay 

When I reach the building, I pace before 
the entrance to catch my breath. Above me, 
panes of glass reflect light in every direction. 
Somewhere up there is the chair I sat in 
while I was running the attack simulation, 
and a smear of Tris's father's blood on the 
wall. Somewhere up there, Tris's voice 
pierced the simulation I was under, and I felt 
her hand on my chest, drawing me back to 

I open the door to the fear landscape room 
and flip open the small black box that was in 
my back pocket to see the syringes inside. 
This is the box I have always used, padded 
around the needles; it is a sign of something 
sick inside me, or something brave. 

I position the needle over my throat and 
close my eyes as I press down on the plun- 
ger. The black box clatters to the ground, but 
by the time I open my eyes, it has 

I stand on the roof of the Hancock build- 
ing, near the zip line where the Dauntless 
flirt with death. The clouds are black with 
rain, and the wind fills my mouth when I 
open it to breathe. To my right, the zip line 
snaps, the wire cord whipping back and shat- 
tering the windows below me. 

My vision tightens around the roof edge, 
trapping it in the center of a pinhole. I can 
hear my own exhales despite the whistling 
wind. I force myself to walk to the edge. The 
rain pounds against my shoulders and head, 
dragging me toward the ground. I tip my 
weight forward just a little and fall, my jaw 
clamped around my screams, muffled and 
suffocated by my own fear. 

After I land, I don't have a second to rest 
before the walls close in around me, the 
wood slamming into my spine, and then my 
head, and then my legs. Claustrophobia. I 
pull my arms in to my chest, close my eyes, 
and try not to panic. 

I think of Eric in his fear landscape, willing 
his terror into submission with deep breath- 
ing and logic. And Tris, conjuring weapons 
out of thin air to attack her worst night- 
mares. But I am not Eric, and I am not Tris. 
What am I? What do I need, to overcome my 

I know the answer, of course I do: I need 
to deny them the power to control me. I need 
to know that I am stronger than they are. 

I breathe in and slam my palms against the 
walls to my left and right. The box creaks, 
and then breaks, the boards crashing to the 
concrete floor. I stand above them in the 

Amar, my initiation instructor, taught 
us that our fear landscapes were always in 
flux, shifting with our moods and changing 
with the little whispers of our nightmares. 
Mine was always the same, until a few weeks 
ago. Until I proved to myself that I could 

overpower my father. Until I discovered 
someone I was terrified to lose. 

I don't know what I will see next. 

I wait for a long time without anything 
changing. The room is still dark, the floor 
still cold and hard, my heart still beating 
faster than normal. I look down to check my 
watch and discover that it's on the wrong 
hand— I usually wear mine on my left, not 
my right, and my watchband isn't gray, it's 

Then I notice bristly hairs on my fingers 
that weren't there before. The calluses on my 
knuckles are gone. I look down, and I am 
wearing gray slacks and a gray shirt; I am 
thicker around the middle and thinner 
through the shoulders. 

I lift my eyes to a mirror that now stands 
in front of me. The face staring back at mine 
is Marcus's. 

He winks at me, and I feel the muscles 
around my eye contracting as he does, 

though I didn't tell them to. Without warn- 
ing, his— my— our arms jerk toward the glass 
and reach into it, closing around the neck of 
my reflection. But then the mirror disap- 
pears, and my —his— our hands are around 
our own throat, dark patches creeping into 
the edge of our vision. We sink to the 
ground, and the grip is as tight as iron. 

I can't think. I can't think of a way out of 
this one. 

By instinct, I scream. The sound vibrates 
against my hands. I picture those hands as 
mine really are, large with slender fingers 
and calloused knuckles from hours at the 
punching bag. I imagine my reflection as wa- 
ter running over Marcus's skin, replacing 
every piece of him with a piece of me. I re- 
make myself in my own image. 

/ am kneeling on the concrete, gasping for 

My hands tremble, and I run my fingers 
over my neck, my shoulders, my arms. Just 
to make sure. 

I told Tris, on the train to meet Evelyn a 
few weeks ago, that Marcus was still in my 
fear landscape, but that he had changed. I 
spent a long time thinking about it; it 
crowded my thoughts every night before I 
slept and clamored for attention every time I 
woke. I was still afraid of him, I knew, but in 
a different way— I was no longer a child, 
afraid of the threat my terrifying father 
posed to my safety. I was a man, afraid of the 
threat he posed to my character, to my fu- 
ture, to my identity. 

But even that fear, I know, does not com- 
pare to the one that comes next. Even though 
I know it's coming, I want to open a vein and 
drain the serum from my body rather than 
see it again. 

A pool of light appears on the concrete in 
front of me. A hand, the fingers bent into a 

claw, reaches into the light, followed by an- 
other hand, and then a head, with stringy 
blond hair. The woman coughs and drags 
herself into the circle of light, inch by inch. I 
try to move toward her, to help her, but I am 

The woman turns her face toward the 
light, and I see that she is Tris. Blood spills 
over her lips and curls around her chin. Her 
bloodshot eyes find mine, and she wheezes, 

She coughs red onto the floor, and I throw 
myself toward her, somehow knowing that if 
I don't get to her soon, the light will leave her 
eyes. Hands wrap around my arms and 
shoulders and chest, forming a cage of flesh 
and bone, but I keep straining toward her. I 
claw at the hands holding me, but I only end 
up scratching myself. 

I shout her name, and she coughs again, 
this time more blood. She screams for help, 
and I scream for her, and I don't hear 

anything, I don't feel anything, but my heart- 
beat, but my own terror. 

She drops to the ground, tensionless, and 
her eyes roll back into her head. It's too late. 

The darkness lifts. The lights return. Graf- 
fiti covers the walls of the fear landscape 
room, and across from me are the mirror- 
windows to the observation room, and in the 
corners are the cameras that record each ses- 
sion, all where they're supposed to be. My 
neck and back are covered in sweat. I wipe 
my face with the hem of my shirt and walk to 
the opposite door, leaving my black box with 
its syringe and needle behind. 

I don't need to relive my fears anymore. 
All I need to do now is try to overcome them. 

I know from experience that confidence 
alone can get a person into a forbidden place. 
Like the cells on the third floor of Erudite 

Not here, though, apparently. A factionless 
man stops me with the end of his gun before 
I reach the door, and I am nervous, choking. 

"Where you going?" 

I put my hand on his gun and push it away 
from my arm. "Don't point that thing at me. 
I'm here on Evelyn's orders. I'm going to see 
a prisoner." 

"I didn't hear about any after-hours visits 

I drop my voice low, so he feels like he's 
hearing a secret. "That's because she didn't 
want it on the record." 

"Chuck!" someone calls out from the stairs 
above us. It's Therese. She makes a waving 
motion as she walks down. "Let him through. 
He's fine." 

I nod to Therese and keep moving. The 
debris in the hallway has been swept clean, 
but the broken lightbulbs haven't been re- 
placed, so I walk through stretches of 

darkness, like patches of bruises, on my way 
to the right cell. 

When I reach the north corridor, I don't go 
straight to the cell, but rather to the woman 
who stands at the end. She is middle-aged, 
with eyes that droop at the edges and a 
mouth held in a pucker. She looks like 
everything exhausts her, including me. 

"Hi," I say. "My name is Tobias Eaton. I'm 
here to collect a prisoner, on orders from 
Evelyn Johnson." 

Her expression doesn't change when 
she hears my name, so for a few seconds I'm 
sure I'll have to knock her unconscious to get 
what I want. She takes a piece of crumpled 
paper from her pocket and flattens it against 
her left palm. On it is a list of prisoners' 
names and their corresponding room 

"Name?" she says. 

"Caleb Prior. 308A." 

"You're Evelyn's son, right?" 

"Yeah. I mean . . . yes." She doesn't seem 
like the kind of person who likes the word 

She leads me to a blank metal door with 
308A on it— I wonder what it was used for 
when our city didn't require so many cells. 
She types in the code, and 
the door springs open. 

"I guess I'm supposed to pretend I don't 
see what you're about to do?" she says. 

She must think I'm here to kill him. I de- 
cide to let her. 

"Yes," I say. 

"Do me a favor and put in a good word for 
me with Evelyn. I don't want so many night 
shifts. The name's Drea." 

"You got it." 

She gathers the paper into her fist and 
shoves it back into her pocket as she walks 
away. I keep my hand on the door handle un- 
til she reaches her post again and turns to 
the side so she isn't facing me. It seems like 

she's done this a few times before. I wonder 
how many people have disappeared from 
these cells at Evelyn's command. 

I walk in. Caleb Prior sits at a metal desk, 
bent over a book, his hair piled on one side 
of his head. 

"What do you want?" he says. 

"I hate to break this to you—" I pause. I de- 
cided a few hours ago how I wanted to 
handle this— I want to teach Caleb a lesson. 
And it will involve a few lies. "You know, ac- 
tually, I kind of don't hate it. Your 
execution's been moved up a few weeks. To 

That gets his attention. He twists in his 
chair and stares at me, his eyes wild and 
wide, like prey faced with a predator. 
"Is that a joke?" 
"I'm really bad at telling jokes." 

"No." He shakes his head. "No, I have a 
few weeks, it's not tonight, no — " 

"If you shut up, I'll give you an hour to ad- 
just to this new information. If you don't 
shut up, I'll knock you out and shoot you in 
the alley outside before you wake up. Make 
your choice now." 

Seeing an Erudite process something is 
like watching the inside of a watch, the gears 
all turning, shifting, adjusting, working to- 
gether to form a particular function, which in 
this case is to make sense of his imminent 

Caleb's eyes shift to the open door 
behind me, and he seizes the chair, turning 
and swinging it into my body. The legs hit 
me, hard, which slows me down just enough 
to let him slip by. 

I follow him into the hallway, my arms 
burning from where the chair hit me. I am 
faster than he is— I slam into his back and he 
hits the floor face-first, without bracing him- 
self. With my knee against his back, I pull his 
wrists together and squeeze them into a 

plastic loop. He groans, and when I pull him 
to his feet, his nose is bright with blood. 

Drea's eyes touch mine for just a moment, 
then move away. 

I drag him down the hallway, not the way I 
came, but another way, toward an emer- 
gency exit. We walk down a flight of narrow 
stairs where the echo of our footsteps layers 
over itself, dissonant and hollow. Once I'm at 
the bottom, I knock on the exit door. 

Zeke opens it, a stupid grin on his face. 

"No trouble with the guard?" 


"I figured Drea would be easy to get by. 
She doesn't care about anything." 

"It sounded like she had looked the other 
way before." 

"That doesn't surprise me. Is this Prior?" 

"In the flesh." 

"Why's he bleeding?" 

"Because he's an idiot." 

Zeke offers me a black jacket with a fac- 
tionless symbol stitched into the collar. "I 
didn't know that idiocy caused people to just 
start spontaneously bleeding from the nose." 

I wrap the jacket around Caleb's shoulders 
and fasten one of the buttons over his chest. 
He avoids my eyes. 

"I think it's a new phenomenon," I say. 
"The alley's clear?" 

"Made sure of it." Zeke holds out his gun, 
handle first. "Careful, it's loaded. Now it 
would be great if you would hit me so I'm 
more convincing when I tell the factionless 
you stole it from me." 

"You want me to hit you?" 

"Oh, like you've never wanted to. 
Just do it, Four." 

I do like to hit people— I like the explosion 
of power and energy, and the feeling that I 
am untouchable because I can hurt people. 
But I hate that part of myself, because it is 
the part of me that is the most broken. 

Zeke braces himself and I curl my hand in- 
to a fist. 

"Do it fast, you pansycake," he says. 

I decide to aim for the jaw, which is too 
strong to break but will still show a good 
bruise. I swing, hitting him right where I 
mean to. Zeke groans, clutching his face with 
both hands. Pain shoots up my arm, and I 
shake my hand out. 

"Great." Zeke spits at the side of the build- 
ing. "Well, I guess that's it." 
"Guess so." 

"I probably won't be seeing you again, will 
I? I mean, I know the others might come 
back, but you ..." He trails off, but picks up 
the thought again a moment later. "Just 
seems like you'll be happy to leave it behind, 
that's all." 

"Yeah, you're probably right." I look at my 
shoes. "You sure you won't come?" 

"Can't. Shauna can't wheel around where 
you guys are going, and it's not like I'm 

gonna leave her, you know?" He touches his 
jaw, lightly, testing the skin. "Make sure Uri 
doesn't drink too much, okay?" 
"Yeah," I say. 

"No, I mean it," he says, and his voice dips 
down the way it always does when he's being 
serious, for once. "Promise you'll look out for 

It's always been clear to me, since I met 
them, that Zeke and Uriah were closer than 
most brothers. They lost their father when 
they were young, and I suspect Zeke began to 
walk the line between parent and sibling 
after that. I can't imagine what it feels like 
for Zeke to watch him leave the city now, es- 
pecially as broken by grief as Uriah is by 
Marlene's death. 

"I promise," I say. 

I know I should leave, but I have to stay in 
this moment for a little while, feeling its sig- 
nificance. Zeke was one of the first friends I 
made in Dauntless, after I survived 

initiation. Then he worked in the control 
room with me, watching the cameras and 
writing stupid programs that spelled out 
words on the screen or played guessing 
games with numbers. He never asked me for 
my real name, or why a first-ranked initiate 
ended up in security and instruction instead 
of leadership. He demanded nothing from 

"Let's just hug already," he says. 

Keeping one hand firm on Caleb's arm, I 
wrap my free arm around Zeke, and he does 
the same. 

When we break apart, I pull Caleb down 
the alley, and can't resist calling 
back, "I'll miss you." 
"You too, sweetie!" 

He grins, and his teeth are white in the 
twilight. They are the last thing I see of him 
before I have to turn and set out at a trot for 
the train. 

"You're going somewhere," says Caleb, 
between breaths. "You and some others." 

"Is my sister going?" 

The question awakes inside me an animal 
rage that won't be satisfied by sharp words 
or insults. It will only be satisfied by smack- 
ing his ear hard with the flat of my hand. He 
winces and hunches his shoulders, preparing 
for a 

second strike. 

I wonder if that's what I looked like when 
my father did it to me. 

"She is not your sister," I say. "You be- 
trayed her. You tortured her. You took away 
the only family she had left. And because . . . 
what? Because you wanted to keep Jeanine's 
secrets, wanted to stay in the city, safe and 
sound? You are a coward." 

"I am not a coward!" Caleb says. "I knew 

"Let's go back to the arrangement where 
you keep your mouth closed." 

"Fine," he says. "Where are you taking me, 
anyway? You can kill me just as well here, 
can't you?" 

I pause. A shape moves along the sidewalk 
behind us, slippery in my periphery. I twist 
and hold up my gun, but the shape disap- 
pears into the yawn of an alley. 

I keep walking, pulling Caleb with me, 
listening for footsteps behind me. We scatter 
broken glass with our shoes. I watch the dark 
buildings and the street signs, dangling from 
their hinges like late-clinging leaves in au- 
tumn. Then I reach the station where we'll 
catch the train, and lead Caleb up a flight of 
metal steps to the platform. 

I see the train coming from a long way off, 
making its last journey through the city. 
Once, the trains were a force of nature to me, 
something that continued along their path 
regardless of what we did inside the city 

limits, something pulsing and alive and 
powerful. Now I have met the men and wo- 
men who operate them, and some of that 
mystery is gone, but what they mean to me 
will never be gone— my first act as a Daunt- 
less was to jump on one, and every day after- 
ward they were the source of my freedom, 
they gave me the power to move within this 
world when I had once felt so trapped in the 
Abnegation sector, in the house that was a 
prison to me. 

When it comes closer, I cut the tie around 
Caleb's wrists with a pocketknife and keep a 
firm hold on his arm. 

"You know how to do this, right?" I 
say. "Get in the last car." 

He unbuttons the jacket and drops it on 
the ground. "Yeah." 

Starting at one end of the platform, we run 
together along the worn boards, keeping 
pace with the open door. He doesn't reach 
for the handle, so I push him toward it. He 

stumbles, then grabs it and pulls himself into 
the last car. I am running out of space— the 
platform is ending— I seize the handle and 
swing myself in, my muscles absorbing the 
pull forward. 

Tris stands inside the car, wearing a small, 
crooked smile. Her black jacket is zipped up 
to her throat, framing her face in darkness. 
She grabs my collar and pulls me in for a 
kiss. As she pulls away, she says, "I always 
loved watching you do that." 

I grin. 

"Is this what you had planned?" Caleb de- 
mands from behind me. "For her to be here 
when you kill me? That's — " 

"Kill him?" Tris asks me, not looking at her 

"Yeah, I let him think he was being taken 
to his execution," I say, loud enough that he 
can hear. "You know, sort of like he did to 
you in Erudite headquarters." 

"I . . . it isn't true?" His face, lit by the 
moon, is slack with shock. I notice that his 
shirt's buttons are in the wrong 

"No," I say. "I just saved your life, 

He starts to say something, and I interrupt 
him. "Might not want to thank me just yet. 
We're taking you with us. Outside the fence." 

Outside the fence— the place he once tried 
so hard to avoid that he turned on his own 
sister. It seems a more fitting punishment 
than death, anyway. Death is so quick, so 
certain. Where we're going now, nothing is 

He looks frightened, but not as frightened 
as I thought he would be. I feel like I under- 
stand, then, the way he ranks things in his 
mind: his life, first; his comfort in a world of 
his own making, second; and somewhere 
after that, the lives of the people he is sup- 
posed to love. He is the sort of despicable 

person who has no understanding of how 
despicable he is, and my badgering him with 
insults won't change that; nothing will. Rath- 
er than angry, I just feel heavy, useless. 

I don't want to think about him anymore. I 
take Tris's hand and lead her to the other 
side of the car, so we can watch the city dis- 
appear behind us. We stand side by side in 
the open doorway, each of us holding one of 
the handles. The buildings create a dark, 
jagged pattern on the sky. 

"We were followed," I say. 
"We'll be careful," she answers. 
"Where are the others?" 

"In the first few cars," she says. "I thought 
we should be alone. Or as alone as we can 

She smiles at me. These are our last mo- 
ments in the city. Of course we should spend 
them alone. 

"I'm really going to miss this place," she 

"Really?" I say. "My thoughts are more 
like, 'Good riddance.'" 

"There's nothing you'll miss? No good 
memories?" She elbows me. 

"Fine." I smile. "There are a few." 

"Any that don't involve me?" she says. 
"That sounds self-centered. You 
know what I mean." 

"Sure, I guess," I say, shrugging. "I mean, I 
got to have a different life in Dauntless, a dif- 
ferent name. I got to be Four, thanks to my 
initiation instructor. He gave me the name." 

"Really?" She tilts her head. "Why haven't 
I met him?" 

"Because he's dead. He was Divergent." I 
shrug again, but I don't feel casual about it. 
Amar was the first person who noticed that I 
was Divergent, and he helped me to hide it. 
But he couldn't hide his own Divergence, and 
that killed him. 

She touches my arm, lightly, but doesn't 
say anything. I shift, uncomfortable. 

"See?" I say. "Too many bad memories 
here. I'm ready to leave." 

I feel empty, not because of sadness, but 
because of relief, all the tension flowing out 
of me. Evelyn is in that city, and Marcus, and 
all the grief and nightmares and bad memor- 
ies, and the factions that kept me trapped in- 
side one version of myself. I squeeze Tris's 

"Look," I say, pointing at a distant cluster 
of buildings. "There's the Abnegation sector." 

She smiles, but her eyes are glassy, like a 
dormant part of her is fighting its way out 
and spilling over. The train hisses over the 
rails, a tear drops down Tris's cheek, and the 
city disappears into the darkness. 

THE TRAIN SLOWS down when we get 
closer to the fence, a signal from the driver 
that we should get off soon. Tobias and I sit 
in the doorway of the car as it moves lazily 

over the tracks. He puts his arm around me 
and touches his nose to my hair, taking a 
breath. I look at him, at the collarbone peek- 
ing out from the neck of his T-shirt, at the 
faint curl of his lip, and I feel something 
heating up inside me. 

"What are you thinking about?" he says in- 
to my ear, softly. 

I jerk to attention. I look at him all the 
time, but not always like that— I feel like he 
just caught me doing something embarrass- 
ing. "Nothing! Why?" 

"No reason." He pulls me closer to his side, 
and I rest my head on his shoulder, taking 
deep breaths of the cool air. It still smells like 
summer, like grass baking in the heat of the 

"It looks like we're getting close to the 
fence," I say. 

I can tell because the buildings are disap- 
pearing, leaving just fields, dotted with the 
rhythmic glow of lightning bugs. Behind me, 

Caleb sits near the other door, hugging his 
knees. His eyes find mine at just the wrong 
moment, and I want to scream into the 
darkest parts of him so he can finally hear 
me, finally understand what he did to me, 
but instead I just hold his stare until he can't 
take it anymore and he looks away. 

I stand, using the handle to steady me, and 
Tobias and Caleb do the same. At first Caleb 
tries to stand behind us, but Tobias pushes 
him forward, right up to the edge of the car. 

"You first. On my mark!" he says. "And . . . 

He gives Caleb a push, just enough to get 
him off the car floor, and my brother disap- 
pears. Tobias goes next, leaving me alone in 
the train car. 

It's stupid to miss a thing when there are 
so many people to miss instead, but I miss 
this train already, and all the others that car- 
ried me through the city, my city, after I was 
brave enough to ride them. I brush my 

fingers over the car wall, just once, and then 
jump. The train is moving so slowly that I 
overcompensate with my landing, too used 
to running off the momentum, and I fall. The 
dry grass scrapes my palms and I push my- 
self to my feet, searching the darkness for 
Tobias and Caleb. 

Before I find them, I hear Christina. "Tris!" 

She and Uriah come toward me. He is 
holding a flashlight, and he looks far more 
alert than he did this afternoon, which is a 
good sign. Behind them are more lights, 
more voices. 

"Did your brother make it?" Uriah says. 

"Yeah." Finally I see Tobias, his hand grip- 
ping Caleb's arm, coming toward us. 

"Not sure why an Erudite like you can't get 
it through his head," Tobias is saying, "but 
you aren't going to be able to outrun me." 

"He's right," says Uriah. "Four's fast. Not 
as fast as me, but definitely faster than a 
Nose like you." 

Christina laughs. "A what?" 

"Nose." Uriah touches the side of his nose. 
"It's a play on words. 'Knows' with a 'K,' 
knowledge, Erudite . . . get it? It's like Stiff." 

"The Dauntless have the weirdest slang. 
Pansycake, Nose ... is there a term for the 

"Of course." Uriah grins. "Jerks." 

Christina shoves Uriah, hard, making him 
drop the flashlight. Tobias, laughing, leads 
us to the rest of the group, standing a few 
feet away. Tori waves her flashlight in the air 
to get everyone's attention, then says, "All 
right, Johanna and the trucks will be about a 
ten-minute walk from here, so let's get going. 
And if I hear a word from anyone, I will beat 
you senseless. We're not out yet." 

We move closer together like sections of a 
tightened shoelace. Tori walks a few feet in 
front of us, and from the back, in the dark, 
she reminds me of Evelyn, her limbs lean 
and wiry, her shoulders back, so sure of 

herself it's almost frightening. By the light of 
the flashlights I can just make out the tattoo 
of a hawk on the back of her neck, the first 
thing I spoke to her about when she admin- 
istered my aptitude test. She told me it was a 
symbol of a fear she had overcome, a fear of 
the dark. I wonder if that fear still creeps up 
on her now, though she worked so hard to 
face it— I wonder if fears ever really go away, 
or if they just lose their power over us. 

She moves farther away from us by the 
minute, her pace more like a jog than a walk. 
She is eager to leave, to escape this place 
where her brother was murdered and she 
rose to prominence only to be thwarted by a 
factionless woman who wasn't supposed to 
be alive. 

She is so far ahead that when the shots go 
off, I only see her flashlight fall, not her 

"Split up!" Tobias's voice roars over the 
sound of our cries, our chaos. "Run!" 

I search in the dark for his hand, but I 
don't find it. I grab the gun Uriah gave me 
before we left and hold it out from my body, 
ignoring the way my throat tightens at the 
feel of it. I can't run into the night. I need 
light. I sprint in the direction of Tori's 
body— of her fallen flashlight. 

I hear but do not hear the gunshots, and 
the shouting, and the running footsteps. I 
hear but do not hear my heartbeat. I crouch 
next to the shaft of light she dropped and 
pick up the flashlight, intending to just grab 
it and keep running, but in its glow I see her 
face. It shines with sweat, and her eyes roll 
beneath her eyelids, like she is searching for 
something but is too tired to find it. 

One of the bullets found her stomach, and 
the other found her chest. There is no way 
she will recover from this. I may be angry 
with her for fighting me in Jeanine's laborat- 
ory, but she's still Tori, the woman who 
guarded the secret of my Divergence. My 

throat tightens as I remember following her 
into the aptitude test room, my eyes on her 
hawk tattoo. 

Her eyes shift in my direction and focus on 
me. Her eyebrows furrow, but she doesn't 

I shift the flashlight into the crook of my 
thumb and reach for her hand to squeeze her 
sweaty fingers. 

I hear someone approaching, and I aim 
flashlight and gun in the same direction. The 
beam hits a woman wearing a factionless 
armband, with a gun pointed at my head. I 
fire, clenching my teeth so hard they squeak. 

The bullet hits the woman in the stomach 
and she screams, firing blindly into the 

I look back down at Tori, and her eyes are 
closed, her body still. Pointing my flashlight 
at the ground, I sprint away from her and 
from the woman I just shot. My legs ache 
and my lungs burn. I don't know where I'm 

going, if I'm running into danger or away 
from it, but I keep running as long as I can. 

Finally I see a light in the distance. At first 
I think it's another flashlight, but as I draw 
closer I realize it is larger and steadier than a 
flashlight— it's a headlight. I hear an engine, 
and crouch in the tall grass to hide, switching 
my flashlight off and keeping my gun ready. 
The truck slows, and I hear a voice: 


It sounds like Christina. The truck is red 
and rusted, an Amity vehicle. I straighten, 
pointing the light at myself so she'll see me. 
The truck stops a few feet ahead of me, and 
Christina leaps out of the passenger seat, 
throwing her arms around me. I replay it in 
my mind to make it real, Tori's body falling, 
the factionless woman's hands covering her 
stomach. It doesn't work. It doesn't feel real. 

"Thank God," Christina says. "Get in. 
We're going to find Tori." 

"Tori's dead," I say plainly, and the word 
"dead" makes it real for me. I wipe tears 
from my cheeks with the heels of my hands 
and struggle to control my shuddering 
breaths. "I— I shot the woman who killed 

"What?" Johanna sounds frantic. She 
leans over from the driver's seat. "What did 
you say?" 

"Tori's gone," I say. "I saw it happen." 

Johanna's expression is shrouded by her 
hair. She presses her next breath out. 

"Well, let's find the others, then." 

I get into the truck. The engine roars as Jo- 
hanna presses the gas pedal, and we bump 
over the grass in search of the 

"Did you see any of them?" I say. 

"A few. Cara, Uriah." Johanna shakes her 
head. "No one else." 

I wrap my hand around the door handle 
and squeeze. If I had tried harder to find To- 
bias ... if I hadn't stopped for Tori . . . 

What if Tobias didn't make it? 

"I'm sure they're all right," Johanna says. 
"That boy of yours knows how to take care of 

I nod, without conviction. Tobias can take 
care of himself, but in an attack, surviving is 
an accident. It doesn't take skill to stand in a 
place where no bullets find you, or to fire in- 
to the dark and hit a man you didn't see. It is 
all luck, or providence, depending on what 
you believe. And I don't know— have never 
known— exactly what I believe. 

He's all right he's all right he's all right. 

Tobias is all right. 

My hands tremble, and Christina squeezes 
my knee. Johanna steers us toward the ren- 
dezvous point, where she saw Uriah and 
Cara. I watch the speedometer needle climb, 
then hold steady at seventy-five. We jostle 

one another in the cab, thrown this way and 
that way by the uneven ground. 

"There!" Christina points. There is a 
cluster of lights ahead of us, some just pin- 
pricks, like flashlights, and others 
round, like headlights. 

We pull up close, and I see him. Tobias sits 
on the hood of the other truck, his arm 
soaked with blood. Cara stands in front of 
him with a first aid kit. Caleb and Peter sit on 
the grass a few feet away. Before Johanna 
has stopped the truck completely, I open the 
door and get out, running toward him. Tobi- 
as stands up, ignoring Cara's orders to stay 
put, and we collide, his uninjured arm wrap- 
ping around my back and lifting me off my 
feet. His back is wet with sweat, and when he 
kisses me, he tastes like salt. 

All the knots of tension inside me come 
apart at once. I feel, just for a moment, like I 
am remade, like I am 

He's all right. We're out of the city. He's all 


MY ARM THROBS like a second heartbeat 
from the bullet graze. Tris's knuckles brush 
mine as she lifts her hand to point at 
something on our right: a series of long, low 
buildings lit by blue emergency lamps. 

"What are those?" Tris says. 

"The other greenhouses," Johanna says. 
"They don't require much manpower, but we 
grow and raise things in large quantities 
there— animals, raw material for fabric, 
wheat, and so on." 

Their panes glow in the starlight, obscur- 
ing the treasures I imagine to be inside them, 
small plants with berries dangling from their 
branches, rows of potato plants buried in the 

"You don't show them to visitors," I say. 
"We never saw them." 

"Amity keeps a number of secrets," Jo- 
hanna says, and she sounds proud. 

The road ahead of us is long and straight, 
marked with cracks and swollen patches. 
Alongside it are gnarled trees, broken lamp- 
posts, old power lines. Every so often, there 
is an isolated square of sidewalk with weeds 
forcing their way through the concrete, or a 
pile of rotting wood, a collapsed dwelling. 

The more time I spend thinking about this 
landscape that every Dauntless patrol was 
told was normal, the more I see an old city 
rising up around me, the buildings lower 
than the ones we left behind, but just as nu- 
merous. An old city that was transformed in- 
to empty land for the Amity to farm. In other 
words, an old city that was razed, burned to 
cinders, and crushed into the ground, even 
the roads disappearing, the earth left to run 
wild over the wreckage. 

I put my hand out the window, and the 
wind wraps around my fingers like locks of 

hair. When I was very young, my mother 
pretended she could shape things from the 
wind, and she would give them to me to use, 
like hammers and nails, or swords, or roller 
skates. It was a game we played in the even- 
ings, on the front lawn, before Marcus got 
home. It took away our dread. 

In the bed of the truck, behind us, are 
Caleb, Christina, and Uriah. Christina and 
Uriah sit close enough for their shoulders to 
touch, but they are looking in opposite direc- 
tions, more like strangers than friends. Just 
behind us is another truck, driven by Robert, 
which carries Cara and Peter. Tori was sup- 
posed to be with them. The thought makes 
me feel hollow, empty. She administered my 
aptitude test. She made me think, for the 
first time, that I could leave Abnega- 
tion—that I had to. I feel like I owe her 
something, and she died before I could give 
it to her. 

"This is it," Johanna says. "The outer limit 
of the Dauntless patrols." 

No fence or wall marks the divide between 
the Amity compound and the outer world, 
but I remember monitoring the Dauntless 
patrols from the control room, making sure 
they didn't go farther than the limit, which is 
marked by a series of signs with Xs on them. 
The patrols were structured so that the 
trucks would run out of gas if they went too 
far, a delicate system of checks and balances 
that preserved our safety and theirs— and, I 
now realize, the secret the Abnegation kept. 

"Have they ever gone past the limit?" says 

"A few times," says Johanna. "It was our 
responsibility to deal with that situation 
when it came up." 

Tris gives her a look, and she shrugs. 

"Every faction has a serum," Johanna says. 
"The Dauntless serum gives hallucinated 
realities, Candor's gives the truth, Amity's 

gives peace, Erudite's gives death—" At this, 
Tris visibly shudders, but Johanna continues 
as if it didn't happen. "And Abnegation's re- 
sets memory." 

"Resets memory?" 

"Like Amanda Ritter's memory," I 
say. "She said, 'There are many things I am 
happy to forget,' remember?" 

"Yes, exactly," says Johanna. "The Amity 
are charged with administering the Abnega- 
tion serum to anyone who goes out past the 
limit, just enough to make them forget the 
experience. I'm sure some of them have 
slipped past us, but not many." 

We are silent then. I turn the information 
over and over in my mind. There is 
something deeply wrong with taking a 
person's memories— even though I know it 
was necessary to keep our city safe for as 
long as it needed to be, I feel it in the pit of 
my stomach. Take a person's memories, and 

change who they are. 

Swelling inside me is the feeling that I am 
about to jump out of my own skin, because 
the farther we get outside the outer limit of 
the Dauntless patrols, the closer we get to 
seeing what lies outside the only world I've 
ever known. I am terrified and thrilled and 
confused and a hundred different things at 

I see something up ahead of us, in the light 
of early morning, and grab Tris's hand. 
"Look," I say. 



THE WORLD BEYOND ours is full of roads 
and dark buildings and collapsing power 

There is no life in it, as far as I can see; no 
movement, no sound but the wind and my 
own footsteps. 

It's like the landscape is an interrupted 
sentence, one side dangling in the air, 

unfinished, and the other, a completely dif- 
ferent subject. On our side of that sentence is 
empty land, grass and stretches of road. On 
the other side are two concrete walls with 
half a dozen sets of train tracks between 
them. Up ahead, there is a concrete bridge 
built across the walls, and framing the tracks 
are buildings, wood and brick and glass, 
their windows dark, trees growing around 
them, so wild their branches have grown 

A sign on the right says 90. 

"What do we do now?" Uriah asks. 

"We follow the tracks," I say, but quietly, 
so only I hear it. 

We get out of the trucks at the divide 
between our world and theirs— whoever 
"they" are. Robert and Johanna say a brief 
good-bye, turn the trucks around, and drive 
back into the city. I watch them go. I can't 
imagine coming this far and then turning 
back, but I guess there are things they have 

to do in the city. Johanna still has an Allegi- 
ant rebellion to organize. 

The rest of us— me, Tobias, Caleb, Peter, 
Christina, Uriah, and Cara— set out with our 
meager possessions along the railroad 

The tracks are not like the ones in the city. 
They are polished and sleek, and instead of 
boards running perpendicular to their path, 
there are sheets of textured metal. Up ahead 
I see one of the trains that runs along them, 
abandoned near the wall. It is metal-plated 
on the top and front, like a mirror, with tin- 
ted windows all along the side. When we 
draw closer, I see rows of benches inside it 
with maroon cushions on them. People must 
not jump on and off these trains. 

Tobias walks behind me on one of the 
rails, his arms held out from his sides to 
maintain his balance. The others are spread 
out over the tracks, Peter and Caleb near one 
wall, Cara near the other. No one talks much, 

except to point out something new, a sign or 
a building or a hint of what this world was 
like, when there were people in it. 

The concrete walls alone hold my 
attention— they are covered with strange pic- 
tures of people with skin so smooth they 
hardly look like people anymore, or colorful 
bottles with shampoo or conditioner or vit- 
amins or unfamiliar substances inside them, 
words I don't understand, "vodka" and 
"Coca-Cola" and "energy drink." The colors 
and shapes and words and pictures are so 
garish, so abundant, that they are 

"Tris." Tobias puts his hand on my 
shoulder, and I stop. 

He tilts his head and says, "Do you hear 

I hear footsteps and the quiet voices of our 
companions. I hear my own breaths, and his. 
But running beneath them is a quiet rumble, 

inconsistent in its intensity. It sounds like an 

"Everyone stop!" I shout. 

To my surprise, everyone does, even Peter, 
and we gather together in the center of the 
tracks. I see Peter draw his gun and hold it 
up, and I do the same, both hands joined to- 
gether to steady it, remembering the ease 
with which I used to lift it. That ease is gone 

Something appears around the bend up 
ahead. A black truck, but larger than any 
truck I've ever seen, large enough to hold 
more than a dozen people in its covered bed. 

I shudder. 

The truck bumps over the tracks and 
comes to a stop twenty feet away from us. I 
can see the man driving it— he has dark skin 
and long hair that is in a knot at the back of 
his head. 

"God," Tobias says, and his hands tighten 
around his own gun. 

A woman gets out of the front seat. She 
looks to be around Johanna's age, her skin 
patterned with dense freckles and her hair so 
dark it's almost black. She hops to the 
ground and puts up both hands, so we can 
see that she isn't armed. 

"Hello," she says, and smiles nervously. 
"My name is Zoe. This is Amar." 

She jerks her head to the side to indicate 
the driver, who has gotten out of 
the truck too. 

"Amar is dead," Tobias says. 

"No, I'm not. Come on, Four," Amar says. 

Tobias's face is tight with fear. I don't 
blame him. It's not every day you see 
someone you care about come back from the 

The faces of all the people I've lost flash in- 
to my mind. Lynn. Marlene. Will. Al. 
My father. My mother. 

What if they're still alive, like Amar? What 
if the curtain that separates us is not death 
but a chain-link fence and some land? 

I can't stop myself from hoping, 
foolish as it is. 

"We work for the same organization that 
founded your city," Zoe says as she glares at 
Amar. "The same organization Edith Prior 
came from. And ..." 

She reaches into her pocket and takes out 
a partially crumpled photograph. She holds 
it out, and then her eyes find mine in the 
crowd of people and guns. 

"I think you should look at this, Tris," she 
says. "I'll step forward and leave it on the 
ground, then back up. All right?" 

She knows my name. My throat tightens 
with fear. How does she know my name? 
And not just my name— my nickname, the 
name I chose when I 
joined Dauntless? 

"All right," I say, but my voice is hoarse, so 
the words barely escape. 

Zoe steps forward, sets the photograph 
down on the train tracks, then moves back to 
her original position. I leave the safety of our 
numbers and crouch near the photograph, 
watching her the whole time. Then I back up, 
photograph in hand. 

It shows a row of people in front of a 
chain-link fence, their arms slung across one 
another's shoulders and backs. I see a child 
version of Zoe, recognizable by her freckles, 
and a few people I don't recognize. I am 
about to ask her what the point of me look- 
ing at this picture is when I recognize the 
young woman with dull blond hair, tied back, 
and a wide smile. 

My mother. What is my mother doing next 
to these people? 

Something— grief, pain, longing— squeezes 
my chest. 

"There is a lot to explain," Zoe says. "But 
this isn't really the best place to do it. We'd 
like to take you to our headquarters. It's a 
short drive from here." 

Still holding up his gun, Tobias touches my 
wrist with his free hand, guiding the photo- 
graph closer to his face. "That's your moth- 
er?" he asks me. 

"It's Mom?" Caleb says. He pushes past 
Tobias to see the picture over my 

"Yes," I say to both of them. 

"Think we should trust them?" Tobias says 
to me in a low voice. 

Zoe doesn't look like a liar, and she doesn't 
sound like one either. And if she knows who 
I am, and knew how to find us here, it's 
probably because she has some form of ac- 
cess to the city, which means she is probably 
telling the truth about being with the group 
that Edith Prior came from. And then there's 

Amar, who is watching every movement To- 
bias makes. 

"We came out here because we wanted to 
find these people," I say. "We have to trust 
someone, don't we? Or else we're just walk- 
ing around in a wasteland, possibly starving 
to death." 

Tobias releases my wrist and lowers his 
gun. I do the same. The others follow suit 
slowly, with Christina putting hers down last. 

"Wherever we go, we have to be free to 
leave at anytime," Christina says. "Okay?" 

Zoe places her hand on her chest, right 
over her heart. "You have my word." 

I hope, for all our sakes, that her word is 
worth having. 


I STAND ON the edge of the truck bed, hold- 
ing the structure that supports the cloth cov- 
er. I want this new reality to be a simulation 
that I could manipulate if I could only make 

sense of it. But it's not, and I can't make 
sense of it. 
Amar is alive. 

"Adapt!" was one of his favorite commands 
during my initiation. Sometimes he yelled it 
so often that I would dream it; it woke me 
like an alarm clock, requiring more of me 
than I could provide. Adapt. Adapt faster, 
adapt better, adapt to things that no man 
should have to. 

Like this: leaving a wholly formed world 
and discovering another one. 

Or this: discovering that your dead friend 
is actually alive and driving the truck you're 
riding in. 

Tris sits behind me, on the bench that 
wraps around the truck bed, the creased 
photo in her hands. Her fingers hover over 
her mother's face, almost touching it but not 
quite. Christina sits on one side of her, and 
Caleb is on the other. She must be letting 
him stay just to see the photograph; her 

entire body recoils from him, pressing into 
Christina's side. 

"That's your mom?" Christina says. 

Tris and Caleb both nod. 

"She's so young there. Pretty, too," 
Christina adds. 

"Yes she is. Was, I mean." 

I expect Tris to sound sad as she replies, 
like she's aching at the memory of her 
mother's fading beauty. Instead her voice is 
nervous, her lips pursed in anticipation. I 
hope that she isn't brewing false hope. 

"Let me see it," Caleb says, stretching his 
hand out to his sister. 

Silently, and without really looking at him, 
she passes him the photograph. 

I turn back to the world we are driving 
away from— the end of the train tracks. The 
huge expanses of field. And in the distance, 
the Hub, barely visible in the haze that cov- 
ers the city's skyline. It's a strange feeling, 
seeing it from this place, like I can still touch 

it if I stretch my hand far enough, though I 
have traveled so far away from it. 

Peter moves toward the edge of the truck 
bed next to me, holding the canvas to steady 
himself. The train tracks curve away from us 
now, and I can't see the fields anymore. The 
walls on either side of us gradually disappear 
as the land flattens out, and I see buildings 
everywhere, some small, like the Abnegation 
houses, and some wide, like city buildings 
turned on their sides. 

Trees, overgrown and huge, grow beyond 
the cement fixtures intended to keep them 
enclosed, their roots sprawling over the 
pavement. Perched on the edge of one 
rooftop is a row of black birds like the ones 
tattooed on Tris's collarbone. As the truck 
passes, they squawk and scatter into the air. 

This is a wild world. 

Just like that, it is too much for me to bear, 
and I have to back up and sit on one of the 
benches. I cradle my head in my hands, 

keeping my eyes shut so I can't take in any 
new information. I feel Tris's strong arm 
across my back, pulling me sideways into her 

frame. My hands are numb. 

"Just focus on what's right here, right 
now," Cara says from across the truck. "Like 
how the truck is moving. It'll help." 

I try it. I think about how hard the bench is 
beneath me and how the truck always vi- 
brates, even on flat ground, buzzing in my 
bones. I detect its tiny movements left and 
right, forward and back, and absorb each 
bounce as it rolls over the rails. I focus until 
everything goes dark around us, and I don't 
feel the passage of time or the panic of dis- 
covery, I feel only our movement over the 

"You should probably look around now," 
Tris says, and she sounds weak. 

Christina and Uriah stand where I stood, 
peering around the edge of the canvas wall. I 

look over their shoulders to see what we're 
driving toward. There is a tall fence stretch- 
ing wide across the landscape, which looks 
empty compared to the densely packed 
buildings I saw before I sat down. The fence 
has vertical black bars with pointed ends that 
bend outward, as if to skewer anyone who 
might try to climb over it. 

A few feet past it is another fence, this one 
chain-link, like the one around the city, with 
barbed wire looped over the top. I hear a 
loud buzz coming from the second fence, an 
electric charge. People walk the space 
between them, carrying guns that look a little 
like our paintball guns, but far more lethal, 
powerful pieces of machinery. 

A sign on the first fence reads BUREAU 

I hear Amar's voice, speaking to the armed 
guards, but I don't know what he's saying. A 
gate in the first fence opens to admit us, and 

then a gate in the second. Beyond the two 
fences is . . . order. 

As far as I can see, there are low buildings 
separated by trimmed grass and fledgling 
trees. The roads that connect them are well 
maintained and well marked, with arrows 
pointing to various destinations: 
GREENHOUSES, straight ahead; SECURITY 
right; COMPOUND MAIN, straight ahead. 

I get up and lean around the truck to see 
the compound, half my body hanging over 
the road. The Bureau of Genetic Welfare isn't 
tall, but it's still huge, wider than I can see, a 
mammoth of glass and steel and concrete. 
Behind the compound are a few tall towers 
with bulges at the top— I don't know why, but 
I think of the control room when I see them, 
and wonder if that's what they are. 

Aside from the guards between the fences, 
there are few people outside. Those who are 

stop to watch us, but we drive away so 
quickly I don't see their expressions. 

The truck stops before a set of double 
doors, and Peter is the first to jump down. 
The rest of us spill out on the pavement be- 
hind him, and we are shoulder to shoulder, 
standing so close I can hear how fast every- 
one is breathing. In the city we were divided 
by faction, by age, by history, but here all 
those divisions fall away. We are all we have. 

"Here we go," mutters Tris, as Zoe and 
Amar approach. 

Here we go, I say to myself. 
"Welcome to the compound," says Zoe. 
"This building used to be O'Hare Airport, 
one of the busiest airports in the country. 
Now it's the headquarters of the Bureau of 
Genetic Welfare— or just the Bureau, as we 
call it around here. It's an agency of the Un- 
ited States government." 

I feel my face going slack. I know all the 
words she's saying— except I'm not sure what 

an "airport" or "united states" is— but they 
don't make sense to me all together. I'm not 
the only one who looks confused— Peter 
raises both eyebrows as if asking a question. 

"Sorry," she says. "I keep forgetting how 
little you all know." 

"I believe it's your fault if we don't know 
anything, not ours," Peter points out. 

"I should rephrase." Zoe smiles gently. "I 
keep forgetting how little information we 
provided you with. An airport is a hub for air 
travel, and—" 

"Air travel?" says Christina, incredulous. 

"One of the technological developments 
that wasn't necessary for us to know about 
when we were inside the city was air travel," 
says Amar. "It's safe, fast, and amazing." 

"Wow," says Tris. 

She looks excited. I, however, think of 
speeding through the air, high above the 
compound, and feel like I might throw up. 

"Anyway. When the experiments were first 
developed, the airport was converted into 
this compound so that we could monitor the 
experiments from a distance," Zoe says. "I'm 
going to walk you to the control room to 
meet David, the leader of the Bureau. You 
will see a lot of things you don't understand, 
but it may be best to get some preliminary 
explanations before you start asking me 
about them. So take note of the things you 
want to learn more about, and feel free to ask 
me or Amar later." 

She starts toward the entrance, and the 
doors part for her, pulled open by two armed 
guards who smile in greeting as she passes 
them. The contrast between the friendly 
greeting and the weapons propped against 
their shoulders is almost humorous. The 
guns are huge, and I wonder how they feel to 
shoot, if you can feel the deadly power in 
them just by curling your finger around the 

Cool air rushes over my face as I walk into 
the compound. Windows arch high above my 
head, letting in pale light, but that is the 
most appealing part about the place— the tile 
floor is dull with dirt and age, and the walls 
are gray and blank. Ahead of us is a sea of 
people and machinery, with a sign over it 
don't understand why they need so much se- 
curity if they're already protected by two lay- 
ers of fence, one of which is electrified, and a 
few layers of guards, but this is not my world 
to question. 

No, this is not my world at all. 

Tris touches my shoulder and points down 
the long entryway. "Look at that." 

Standing at the far end of the room, out- 
side the security checkpoint, is a huge block 
of stone with a glass apparatus suspended 
above it. It's a clear example of the things we 
will see here that we don't understand. I also 
don't understand the hunger in Tris's eyes, 

devouring everything around us as if it alone 
can sustain her. Sometimes I feel like we are 
the same, but sometimes, like right now, I 
feel the separation between our personalities 
like I've just run into a wall. 

Christina says something to Tris, and they 
both grin. Everything I hear is 
muffled and distorted. 
"Are you all right?" Cara asks me. 
"Yeah," I say automatically. 

"You know, it would be perfectly logical for 
you to be panicking right now," she says. "No 
need to continually insist upon your unshak- 
able masculinity." 

"My . . . what?" 

She smiles, and I realize that she was 

All the people at the security checkpoint 
step aside, forming a tunnel for us to walk 
through. Ahead of us, Zoe announces, 
"Weapons are not allowed inside this facility, 
but if you leave them at the security 

checkpoint you can pick them up as you exit, 
if you choose to do so. After you drop them 
off, we'll go through the scanners and be on 
our way." 

"That woman is irritating," Cara says. 

"What?" I say. "Why?" 

"She can't separate herself from her own 
knowledge," she says as she draws her 
weapon. "She keeps saying things like they're 
obvious when they are not, in fact, obvious." 

"You're right," I say without conviction. 
"That is irritating." 

Ahead of me, I see Zoe putting her gun in- 
to a gray container and then walking into a 
scanner— it is a mansized box with a tunnel 
through the middle, just wide enough for a 
body. I draw my own gun, which is heavy 
with unused bullets, and put it in the con- 
tainer the security guard holds out to me, 
where all the others' guns are. 

I watch Zoe go through the scanner, then 
Amar, Peter, Caleb, Cara, and Christina. As I 

stand at the edge of it, at the walls that will 
squeeze my body between them, I feel the 
beginnings of panic again, the numb hands 
and the tight chest. The scanner reminds me 
of the wooden box that traps me in my fear 
landscape, squeezing my bones together. 

I cannot, will not panic here. 

I force my feet to move into the scanner, 
and stand in the middle, where all the others 
stood. I hear something moving in the walls 
on either side of me, and then there's a high- 
pitched beep. I shudder, and all I can see is 
the guard's hand, motioning me forward. 

It is now okay to escape. 

I stumble out of the scanner, and the air 
opens up around me. Cara gives me a poin- 
ted look, but doesn't say anything. 

When Tris takes my hand after going 
through the scanner herself, I barely feel it. I 
remember going through my fear landscape 
with her, our bodies pressed together in the 
wooden box that enclosed us, my palm 

against her chest, feeling her heartbeat. It's 
enough to ground me in reality again. 

Once Uriah is through, Zoe waves us for- 
ward again. 

Beyond the security checkpoint, the facility 
is not as dingy as it was before. The floors are 
still tile, but they are polished to perfection, 
and there are windows everywhere. Down 
one long hallway I see rows of lab tables and 
computers, and it reminds me of Erudite 
headquarters, but it's brighter here, and 
nothing seems to be hidden. 

Zoe leads us down a darker passageway on 
the right. As we walk past people, they stop 
to watch, and I feel their eyes on me like 
little beams of heat, making me warm from 
throat to cheeks. 

We walk for a long time, deeper into the 
compound, and then Zoe stops, facing 

Behind her is a large circle of blank 
screens, like moths circling a flame. People 

within the circle sit at low desks, typing furi- 
ously on still more screens, these ones facing 
out instead of in. It's a control room, but it's 
out in the open, and I'm not sure what 
they're observing here, since all the screens 
are dark. Clustered around the screens that 
face in are chairs and benches and tables, 
like people gather here to watch at their 

A few feet in front of the control room is an 
older man wearing a smile and a dark blue 
uniform, just like all the others. When he 
sees us approaching, he spreads his hands as 
if to welcome us. 
David, I assume. 

"This," the man says, "is what we've waited 
for since the very beginning." 



I TAKE THE photograph from my pocket. 
The man in front of me— David— is in it, next 

to my mother, his face a little smoother, his 
middle a little trimmer. 

I cover my mother's face with my fingertip. 
All the hope growing inside me has withered. 
If my mother, or my father, or my friends 
were still alive, they would have been waiting 
by the doors for our arrival. I should have 
known better than to think what happened 
with Amar— whatever it was —could happen 

"My name is David. As Zoe probably told 
you already, I am the leader of the Bureau of 
Genetic Welfare. I'm going to do my best to 
explain things," David says. "The first thing 
you should know is that the information 
Edith Prior gave you is only partly true." 

At the name "Prior" his eyes settle on me. 
My body shakes with anticipation —ever 
since I saw that video I've been desperate for 
answers, and I'm about to get them. 

"She provided only as much information 
as you needed to meet the goals of our 

experiments," says David. "And in many 
cases, that meant oversimplifying, omitting, 
and even outright falsehood. Now that you 
are here, there is no need for any of those 

"You all keep talking about 'experiments,'" 
Tobias says. "What experiments?" 

"Yes, well, I was getting to that." David 
looks at Amar. "Where did they start when 
they explained it to you?" 

"Doesn't matter where you start. You can't 
make it easier to take," Amar says, picking at 
his cuticles. 

David considers this for a moment, then 
clears his throat. 

"A long time ago, the United States 

"The united what?" Uriah asks. 

"It's a country," says Amar. "A large one. It 
has specific borders and its own governing 
body, and we're in the middle of it right now. 
We can talk about it later. Go ahead, sir." 

David presses his thumb into his palm and 
massages his hand, clearly disconcerted by 
all the interruptions. 

He begins again: 

"A few centuries ago, the government of 
this country became interested in enforcing 
certain desirable behaviors in its citizens. 
There had been studies that indicated that 
violent tendencies could be partially traced 
to a person's genes— a gene called 'the 
murder gene' was the first of these, but there 
were quite a few more, genetic predisposi- 
tions toward cowardice, dishonesty, low in- 
telligence—all the qualities, in other words, 
that ultimately contribute to a broken 

We were taught that the factions were 
formed to solve a problem, the problem of 
our flawed natures. Apparently the people 
David is describing, whoever they were, be- 
lieved in that problem too. 

I know so little about genetics— just what I 
can see passed down from parent to child, in 
my face and in friends' faces. I can't imagine 
isolating a gene for murder, or cowardice, or 
dishonesty. Those things seem too nebulous 
to have a concrete location in a person's 
body. But I'm not a scientist. 

"Obviously there are quite a few factors 
that determine personality, including a 
person's upbringing and experiences," David 
continues, "but despite the peace and 
prosperity that had reigned in this country 
for nearly a century, it seemed advantageous 
to our ancestors to reduce the risk of these 
undesirable qualities showing up in our pop- 
ulation by correcting them. In other words, 
by editing humanity. 

"That's how the genetic manipulation ex- 
periment was born. It takes several genera- 
tions for any kind of genetic manipulation to 
manifest, but people were selected from the 
general population in large numbers, 

according to their backgrounds or behavior, 
and they were given the option to give a gift 
to our future generations, a genetic altera- 
tion that would make their descendants just 
a little bit better." 

I look around at the others. Peter's mouth 
is puckered with disdain. Caleb is scowling. 
Cara's mouth has fallen open, like she is 
hungry for answers and intends to eat them 
from the air. Christina just looks skeptical, 
one eyebrow raised, and Tobias is staring at 
his shoes. 

I feel like I am not hearing anything 
new— just the same philosophy that spawned 
the factions, driving people to manipulate 
their genes instead of separating into virtue- 
based groups. I understand it. On some level 
I even agree with it. But I don't know how it 
relates to us, here, now. 

"But when the genetic manipulations 
began to take effect, the alterations had dis- 
astrous consequences. As it turns out, the 

attempt had resulted not in corrected genes, 
but in damaged ones," David says. "Take 
away someone's fear, or low intelligence, or 
dishonesty . . . and you take away their com- 
passion. Take away someone's aggression 
and you take away their motivation, or their 
ability to assert themselves. Take away their 
selfishness and you take away their sense of 
self-preservation. If you think about it, I'm 
sure you know exactly what I mean." 

I tick off each quality in my mind as he 
says it— fear, low intelligence, dishonesty, ag- 
gression, selfishness. He is talking about the 
factions. And he's right to say that every fac- 
tion loses something when it gains a virtue: 
the Dauntless, brave but cruel; the Erudite, 
intelligent but vain; the Amity, peaceful but 
passive; the Candor, honest but inconsider- 
ate; the Abnegation, selfless but stifling. 

"Humanity has never been perfect, but the 
genetic alterations made it worse than it had 
ever been before. This manifested itself in 

what we call the Purity War. A civil war, 
waged by those with damaged genes, against 
the government and everyone with pure 
genes. The Purity War caused a level of de- 
struction formerly unheard of on American 
soil, eliminating almost half of the country's 

"The visual is up," says one of the people at 
a desk in the control room. 

A map appears on the screen above 
David's head. It is an unfamiliar shape, so 
I'm not sure what it's supposed to represent, 
but it is covered with patches of pink, red, 
and dark-crimson lights. 

"This is our country before the Purity 
War," David says. "And this is after—" 

The lights start to recede, the patches 
shrinking like puddles of water drying in the 
sun. Then I realize that the red lights were 
people— people, disappearing, their lights go- 
ing out. I stare at the screen, unable to wrap 
my mind around such a substantial loss. 

David continues, "When the war was fi- 
nally over, the people demanded a perman- 
ent solution to the genetic problem. And that 
is why the Bureau of Genetic Welfare was 
formed. Armed with all the scientific know- 
ledge at our government's disposal, our pre- 
decessors designed experiments to restore 
humanity to its genetically pure state. 

"They called for genetically 
damaged individuals to come forward so that 
the Bureau could alter their genes. The Bur- 
eau then placed them in secure environ- 
ments to settle in for the long haul, equipped 
with basic versions of the serums to help 
them control their society. They would wait 
for the passage of time— for the generations 
to pass, for each one to produce more genet- 
ically healed humans. Or, as you currently 
know them . . . the Divergent." 

Ever since Tori told me the word for what I 
am— Divergent— I have wanted to know what 
it means. And here is the simplest answer I 

have received: "Divergent" means that my 
genes are healed. Pure. Whole. I should feel 
relieved to know the real answer at last. But I 
just feel like something is off, itching in the 
back of my mind. 

I thought that "Divergent" explained 
everything that I am and everything that I 
could be. Maybe I was wrong. 

I am starting to feel short of breath as the 
revelations begin to work their way into my 
mind and heart, as David peels the layers of 
lies and secrets away. I touch my chest to feel 
my heartbeat, to try to steady myself. 

"Your city is one of those experiments for 
genetic healing, and by far the most success- 
ful one, because of the behavioral modifica- 
tion portion. The factions, that is." David 
smiles at us, like it's something we should be 
proud of, but I am not proud. They created 
us, they shaped our world, they told us what 
to believe. 

If they told us what to believe, and we 
didn't come to it on our own, is it still true? I 
press my hand harder against my chest. 

"The factions were our predecessors' at- 
tempt to incorporate a 'nurture' element to 
the experiment— they discovered that mere 
genetic correction was not enough to change 
the way people behaved. A new social order, 
combined with the genetic modification, was 
determined to be the most complete solution 
to the behavioral problems that the genetic 
damage had created." David's smile fades as 
he looks around at all of us. I don't know 
what he expected— for us to smile back? He 
continues, "The factions were later intro- 
duced to most of our other experiments, 
three of which are currently active. We have 
gone to great lengths to protect you, observe 
you, and learn from you." 

Cara runs her hands over her hair, as if 
checking for loose strands. Finding none, she 

says, "So when Edith Prior said we were sup- 
posed to determine the cause of Divergence 
and come out and help you, that was ..." 

"'Divergent' is the name we decided to give 
to those who have reached the desired level 
of genetic healing," says David. "We wanted 
to make sure that the leaders of your city val- 
ued them. We didn't expect the leader of 
Erudite to start hunting them down— or for 
the Abnegation to even tell her what they 
were— and contrary to what Edith Prior said, 
we never really intended for you to send a 
Divergent army out to us. We don't, after all, 
truly need your help. We just need your 
healed genes to remain intact and to be 
passed on to future generations." 

"So what you're saying is that if we're not 
Divergent, we're damaged," Caleb says. His 
voice is shaking. I never thought I would see 
Caleb on the verge of tears because of 
something like this, 
but he is. 

Steady, I tell myself again, and take an- 
other deep, slow breath. 

"Genetically damaged, yes," says David. 
"However, we were surprised to discover that 
the behavioral modification component of 
our city's experiment was quite effective— up 
until recently, it actually helped quite a bit 
with the behavioral problems that made the 
genetic manipulation so problematic to be- 
gin with. So generally, you would not be able 
to tell whether a person's genes were dam- 
aged or healed from their behavior." 

"I'm smart," Caleb says. "So you're saying 
that because my ancestors were altered to be 
smart, I, their descendant, can't be fully 
compassionate. I, and every other genetically 
damaged person, am limited by my damaged 
genes. And the Divergent are not." 

"Well," says David, lifting a shoulder. 
"Think about it." 

Caleb looks at me for the first time in days, 
and I stare back. Is that the explanation for 

Caleb's betrayal— his damaged genes? Like a 
disease that he can't heal, and can't control? 
It doesn't seem right. 

"Genes aren't everything," Amar says. 
"People, even genetically damaged people, 
make choices. That's what matters." 

I think of my father, a born Erudite, not 
Divergent; a man who could not help but be 
smart, choosing Abnegation, engaging in a 
lifelong struggle against his own nature, and 
ultimately fulfilling it. A man warring with 
himself, just as I war with myself. 

That internal war doesn't seem like a 
product of genetic damage— it seems com- 
pletely, purely human. 

I look at Tobias. He is so washed out, so 
slouched, he looks like he might pass out. 
He's not alone in his reaction: Christina, 
Peter, Uriah, and Caleb all look stunned. 
Cara has the hem of her shirt pinched 
between her fingers, and she is moving her 
thumb over the fabric, frowning. 

"This is a lot to process," says 

That is an understatement. 
Beside me, Christina snorts. 

"And you've all been up all night," David 
finishes, like there was no interruption. "So 
I'll show you to a place where you can get 
some rest and food." 

"Wait," I say. I think of the photograph in 
my pocket, and how Zoe knew my name 
when she gave it to me. I think of what David 
said, about observing us and learning from 
us. I think of the rows of screens, blank, right 
in front of me. "You said you've been ob- 
serving us. How?" 

Zoe purses her lips. David nods to one of 
the people at the desks behind him. All at 
once, all the screens turn on, each of them 
showing footage from different cameras. On 
the ones nearest to me, I see Dauntless 
headquarters. The Merciless Mart. Millenni- 
um Park. The Hancock building. The Hub. 

"You've always known that the Dauntless 
observe the city with security cameras," 
David says. "Well, we have access to those 
cameras too." 

They've been watching us. 
I think about leaving. 

We walk past the security checkpoint on 
our way to wherever David is taking us, and I 
think about walking through it again, picking 
up my gun, and running from this place 
where they've been watching me. Since I was 
small. My first steps, my first words, my first 
day of school, my first kiss. 

Watching, when Peter attacked me. When 
my faction was put under a simulation and 
turned into an army. When my parents died. 

What else have they seen? 

The only thing that stops me from going is 
the photograph in my pocket. I can't leave 
these people before I find out how they knew 
my mother. 

David takes us through the compound to a 
carpeted area with potted plants on either 
side. The wallpaper is old and yellowed, peel- 
ing from the corners of the walls. We follow 
him into a large room with high ceilings and 
wood floors and lights that glow orange-yel- 
low. There are cots arranged in two straight 
rows, with trunks beside them for what we 
brought with us, and large windows with el- 
egant curtains on the opposite end of the 
room. When I get closer to them, I see that 
they're worn and frayed at the edges. 

David tells us that this part of the com- 
pound was a hotel, connected to the airport 
by a tunnel, and this room was once the ball- 
room. Again the words mean nothing to us, 
but he doesn't seem to notice. 

"This is just a temporary dwelling, of 
course. Once you decide what to do, we will 
settle you somewhere else, whether it's in 
this compound or elsewhere. Zoe will ensure 
that you are well taken care of," he says. "I 

will be back tomorrow to see how you're all 

I look back at Tobias, who is pacing back 
and forth in front of the windows, gnawing 
on his fingernails. I never realized he had 
that habit. Maybe he was never distressed 
enough to do it before. 

I could stay and try to comfort him, but I 
need answers about my mother, and I'm not 
going to wait any longer. I'm sure that Tobi- 
as, of all people, will understand. I follow 
David into the hallway. Just outside the 
room he leans against the wall and scratches 
the back of his neck. 

"Hi," I say. "My name is Tris. I believe you 
knew my mother." 

He jumps a little, but eventually smiles at 
me. I cross my arms. I feel the same way I 
did when Peter pulled my towel away during 
Dauntless initiation, to be cruel: exposed, 
embarrassed, angry. Maybe it's not fair to 
direct all of that at David, but I can't help it. 

He's the leader of this compound— of the 

"Yes, of course," he says. "I recognize you." 

From where? The creepy cameras that 
followed my every move? I pull my arms 
tighter across my chest. 

"Right." I wait a beat, then say, "I need to 
know about my mother. Zoe gave me a pic- 
ture of her, and you were standing right next 
to her in it, so I figured you could help." 

"Ah," he says. "Can I see the picture?" 

I take it out of my pocket and offer it to 
him. He smooths it down with his fingertips, 
and there is a strange smile on his face as he 
looks at it, like he's caressing it with his eyes. 
I shift my weight from one foot to the oth- 
er—I feel like I'm intruding on a private 

"She took a trip back to us once," he says. 
"Before she settled into motherhood. That's 
when we took this." 

"Back to you?" I say. "Was she one of 

"Yes," David says simply, like it's not a 
word that changes my entire world. "She 
came from this place. We sent her into the 
city when she was young to resolve a prob- 
lem in the experiment." 

"So she knew," I say, and my voice shakes, 
but I don't know why. "She knew about this 
place, and what was outside the fence." 

David looks puzzled, his bushy eyebrows 
furrowed. "Well, of course." 

The shaking moves down my arms and in- 
to my hands, and soon my entire body is 
shuddering, as if rejecting some kind of pois- 
on that I've swallowed, and the poison is 
knowledge, the knowledge of this place and 
its screens and all the lies I built my life on. 
"She knew you were watching us at every 
moment . . . watching as she died and my 
father died and everyone started killing each 
other! And did you send in someone to help 

her, to help me? No! No, all you did was take 
"Tris . . ." 

He tries to reach for me, and I push his 
hand away. "Don't call me that. You 
shouldn't know that name. You shouldn't 
know anything about us." 

Shivering, I walk back into the room. 
Back inside, the others have picked their 
beds and put their things down. It's just us in 
here, no intruders. I lean against the wall by 
the door and push my palms down the front 
of my pants to get the sweat off. 

No one seems to be adjusting well. Peter 
lies facing the wall. Uriah and Christina sit 
side by side, having a conversation in low 
voices. Caleb is massaging his temples with 
his fingertips. Tobias is still pacing and 
gnawing on his fingernails. And Cara is on 
her own, dragging her hand over her face. 
For the first time since I met her, she looks 
upset, the Erudite armor gone. 

I sit down across from her. "You don't look 
so good." 

Her hair, usually smooth and perfect in its 
knot, is disheveled. She glowers at me. 
"That's kind of you to say." 

"Sorry," I say. "I didn't mean it that way." 

"I know." She sighs. "I'm ... I'm an 
Erudite, you know." 

I smile a little. "Yeah, I know." 

"No." Cara shakes her head. "It's the only 
thing I am. Erudite. And now they've told me 
that's the result of some kind of flaw in my 
genetics . . . and that the factions themselves 
are just a mental prison to keep us under 
control. Just like Evelyn Johnson and the 
factionless said." She pauses. "So why form 
the Allegiant? Why bother to come out 

I didn't realize how much Cara had already 
cleaved to the idea of being an Allegiant, loy- 
al to the faction system, loyal to our 
founders. For me it was just a temporary 

identity, powerful because it could get me 
out of the city. For her the attachment must 
have been much deeper. 

"It's still good that we came out here," I 
say. "We found out the truth. That's not valu- 
able to you?" 

"Of course it is," Cara says softly. "But it 
means I need other words for what I am." 

Just after my mother died, I grabbed hold 
of my Divergence like it was a hand out- 
stretched to save me. I needed that word to 
tell me who I was when everything else was 
coming apart around me. But now I'm won- 
dering if I need it anymore, if we ever really 
need these words, "Dauntless," "Erudite," 
"Divergent," "Allegiant," or if we can just be 
friends or lovers or siblings, defined instead 
by the choices we make and the love and loy- 
alty that binds us. 

"Better check on him," Cara says, nodding 
to Tobias. 

"Yeah," I say. 

I cross the room and stand in front of the 
windows, staring at what we can see of the 
compound, which is just more of the same 
glass and steel, pavement and grass and 
fences. When he sees me, he stops pacing 
and stands next to me 

"You all right?" I say to him. 

"Yeah." He sits on the windowsill, facing 
me, so we're at eye level. "I mean, no, not 
really. Right now I'm just thinking about 
how meaningless it all was. The faction sys- 
tem, I mean." 

He rubs the back of his neck, and I wonder 
if he's thinking about the tattoos on his back. 

"We put everything we had into it," he 
says. "All of us. Even if we didn't realize we 
were doing it." 

"That's what you're thinking about?" I 
raise my eyebrows. "Tobias, they were 
watching us. Everything that happened, 
everything we did. They didn't intervene, 
they just invaded our privacy. Constantly." 

He rubs his temple with his fingertips. "I 
guess. That's not what's bothering me, 

I must give him an incredulous look 
without meaning to, because he shakes his 
head. "Tris, I worked in the Dauntless con- 
trol room. There were cameras everywhere, 
all the time. I tried to warn you that people 
were watching you during your initiation, 

I remember his eyes shifting to the ceiling, 
to the corner. His cryptic warnings, hissed 
between his teeth. I never realized he was 
warning me about cameras— it just never oc- 
curred to me before. 

"It used to bother me," he says. "But I got 
over it a long time ago. We always thought 

we were on our own, and now it turns out we 
were right— they left us on our own. That's 
just the way it is." 

"I guess I don't accept that," I say. "If you 
see someone in trouble, you should help 
them. Experiment or not. And . . . God." I 
cringe. "All the things they saw." 

He smiles at me, a little. 

"What?" I demand. 

"I was just thinking of some of the things 
they saw," he says, putting his hand on my 
waist. I glare at him for a moment, but I can't 
sustain it, not with him grinning at me like 
that. Not knowing that he's trying to make 
me feel better. I smile a little. 

I sit next to him on the windowsill, my 
hands wedged between my legs and the 
wood. "You know, the Bureau setting up the 
factions is not much different than what we 
thought happened: A long time ago, a group 
of people decided that the faction system 

would be the best way to live— or the way to 
get people to live the best lives they could." 

He doesn't respond at first, just chews on 
the inside of his lip and looks at our feet, side 
by side on the floor. My toes brush the 
ground, not quite reaching it. 

"That helps, actually," he says. "But there's 
so much that was a lie, it's hard to figure out 
what was true, what was real, what matters." 

I take his hand, slipping my fingers 
between his. He touches his forehead to 

I catch myself thinking, Thank God for 
this, out of habit, and then I understand 
what he's so concerned about. What if my 
parents' God, their whole belief system, is 
just something concocted by a bunch of sci- 
entists to keep us under control? And not 
just their beliefs about God and whatever 
else is out there, but about right and wrong, 
about selflessness? Do all those things have 

to change because we know how our world 
was made? 
I don't know. 

The thought rattles me. So I kiss him 
—slowly, so I can feel the warmth of his 
mouth and the gentle pressure and his 
breaths as we pull away. 

"Why is it," I say, "that we always find 
ourselves surrounded by people?" 

"I don't know," he says. "Maybe because 
we're stupid." 

I laugh, and it's laughter, not light, that 
casts out the darkness building within me, 
that reminds me I am still alive, even in this 
strange place where everything I've ever 
known is coming apart. I know some 
things— I know that I'm not alone, that I 
have friends, that I'm in love. I know where I 
came from. I know that I don't want to die, 
and for me, that's something— more than I 
could have said a few weeks ago. 

That night we push our cots just a little 
closer together, and look into each other's 
eyes in the moments before we fall asleep. 
When he finally drifts off, our fingers are 
twisted together in the space between the 

I smile a little, and let myself go too. 

THE SUN STILL hasn't completely set when 
we fall asleep, but I wake a few hours later, at 
midnight, my mind too busy for rest, swarm- 
ing with thoughts and questions and doubts. 
Tris released me earlier, and her fingers now 
brush the floor. She is sprawled over the 
mattress, her hair covering her eyes. 
I shove my feet into my shoes and 
walk the hallways, shoelaces slapping the 
carpets. I am so accustomed to the Dauntless 
compound that I am not used to the creak of 
wooden floors beneath me— I am used to the 

scrape and echo of stone, and the roar and 
pulse of water in the chasm. 

A week into my initiation, Amar— worried 
that I was becoming increasingly isolated 
and obsessive— invited me to join some of 
the older Dauntless for a game of Dare. For 
my dare, we went back to the Pit for me to 
get my first tattoo, the patch of Dauntless 
flames covering my rib cage. It was agoniz- 
ing. I relished every second of it. 

I reach the end of one hallway and find 
myself in an atrium, surrounded by the smell 
of wet earth. Everywhere plants and trees are 
suspended in water, the same way they were 
in the Amity greenhouses. In the center of 
the room is a tree in a giant water tank, lifted 
high above the floor so I can see the tangle of 
roots beneath it, strangely human, like 

"You're not nearly as vigilant as you used 
to be," Amar says from behind me. "Followed 
you all the way here from the hotel lobby." 

"What do you want?" I tap the tank with 
my knuckles, sending ripples through the 

"I thought you might like an explanation 
for why I'm not dead," he 

"I thought about it," I say. "They never let 
us see your body. It wouldn't be that hard to 
fake a death if you never show the body." 

"Sounds like you've got it all figured out." 
Amar claps his hands together. "Well, I'll just 
go, then, if you're not curious. . . ." 

I cross my arms. 

Amar runs a hand over his black hair, ty- 
ing it back with a rubber band. "They faked 
my death because I was Divergent, and Jean- 
ine had started killing the Divergent. They 
tried to save as many as they could before 
she got to them, but it was tricky, you know, 
because she was always a step ahead." 
"Are there others?" I say. 
"A few," he says. 

"Any named Prior?" 

Amar shakes his head. "No, Natalie Prior 
is actually dead, unfortunately. She was the 
one who helped me get out. She also helped 
this other guy too . . . George Wu. Know 
him? He's on a patrol right now, or he would 
have come with me to get you. His sister is 
still inside the city." 

The name clutches at my stomach. 

"Oh God," I say, and I lean into the tank 

"What? You know him?" 
I shake my head. 

I can't imagine it. There were just a 
few hours between Tori's death and our ar- 
rival. On a normal day, a few hours can con- 
tain long stretches of watchchecking, of 
empty time. But yesterday, just a few hours 
placed an impenetrable barrier between Tori 
and her brother. 

"Tori is his sister," I say. "She tried to leave 
the city with us." 

"Tried to," repeats Amar. "Ah. Wow. That's 

Both of us are quiet for a while. George 
will never get to reunite with his sister, and 
she died thinking he had been murdered by 
Jeanine. There isn't anything to say— at least, 
not anything that's worth saying. 

Now that my eyes have adjusted to the 
light, I can see that the plants in this room 
were selected for beauty, not practical- 
ity—flowers and ivy and clusters of purple or 
red leaves. The only flowers I've ever seen 
are wildflowers, or apple blossoms in the 
Amity orchards. These are more extravagant 
than those, vibrant and complex, petals fol- 
ded into petals. Whatever this place is, it has 
not needed to be as pragmatic as our city. 

"That woman who found your body," I say. 
"Was she just . . . lying about it?" 

"People can't really be trusted to lie con- 
sistently." He quirks his eyebrows. "Never 
thought I would say that phrase —it's true, 

anyway. She was reset— her memory was 
altered to include me jumping off the Pire, 
and the body that was planted wasn't actu- 
ally me. But it was too messed up for anyone 
to notice." 

"She was reset. You mean, with the Abneg- 
ation serum." 

"We call it 'memory serum,' since it doesn't 
technically just belong to the Abnegation, 
but yeah. That's the one." 

I was angry with him before. I'm not really 
sure why. Maybe I was just angry that the 
world had become such a complicated place, 
that I have never known even a fraction of 
the truth about it. Or that I allowed myself to 
grieve for someone who was never really 
gone, the same way I grieved for my mother 
all the years I thought she was dead. Tricking 
someone into grief is one of the cruelest 
tricks a person can play, and it's been played 
on me twice. 

But as I look at him, my anger ebbs away, 
like the changing of the tide. And standing in 
the place of my anger is my initiation in- 
structor and friend, alive again. 

I grin. 

"So you're alive," I say. 

"More importantly," he says, pointing at 
me, "you are no longer upset about it." 

He grabs my arm and pulls me into an em- 
brace, slapping my back with one hand. I try 
to return his enthusiasm, but it doesn't come 
naturally— when we break apart, my face is 
hot. And judging by how he bursts into 
laughter, it's also bright red. 

"Once a Stiff, always a Stiff," he says. 

"Whatever," I say. "So do you like it here, 

Amar shrugs. "I don't really have a choice, 
but yeah, I like it fine. I work in security, ob- 
viously, since that's all I was trained to do. 
We'd love to have you, but you're probably 
too good for it." 

"I haven't quite resigned myself to staying 
here just yet," I say. "But thanks, I guess." 

"There's nowhere better out there," he 
says. "All the other cities— that's where most 
of the country lives, in these big metropolit- 
an areas, like our city— are dirty and danger- 
ous, unless you know the right people. Here 
at least there's clean water and food and 

I shift my weight, uncomfortable. I don't 
want to think about staying here, making 
this my home. I already feel trapped by my 
own disappointment. This is not what I ima- 
gined when I thought of escaping my parents 
and the bad memories they gave me. But I 
don't want to disturb the peace with Amar 
now that I finally feel like I have my friend 
back, so I just say, "I'll take that under 

"Listen, there's something else you should 

"What? More resurrections?" 

"It's not exactly a resurrection if I was nev- 
er dead, is it?" Amar shakes his head. "No, 
it's about the city. Someone heard it in the 
control room today— Marcus's trial is sched- 
uled for tomorrow morning." 

I knew it was coming— I knew Evelyn 
would save him for last, would savor every 
moment she spent watching him squirm un- 
der truth serum like he was her last meal. I 
just didn't realize that I would be able to see 
it, if I wanted to. I thought I was finally free 
of them, all of them, forever. 

"Oh," is all I can say. 

I still feel numb and confused when I 
walk back to the dormitory later and crawl 
back into bed. I don't know what I'll do. 


I WAKE JUST before the sun. No one else 
stirs in their cot— Tobias's arm is draped over 
his eyes, but his shoes are now on, like he got 
up and walked around in the middle of the 

night. Christina's head is buried beneath her 
pillow. I lay for a few minutes, finding pat- 
terns in the ceiling, then put on my shoes 
and run my fingers through my hair 
to flatten it. 

The hallways in the compound are empty 
except for a few stragglers. I assume they are 
just finishing the night shift, because they 
are hunched over screens, their chins 
propped on their hands, or slumped against 
broomsticks, barely remembering to sweep. I 
put my hands in my pockets and follow the 
signs to the entrance. I want to get a better 
look at the sculpture I saw yesterday. 

Whoever built this place must have loved 
light. There is glass in the curve of each 
hallway's ceiling and along each lower wall. 
Even now, when it is barely morning, there is 
plenty of light to see by. 

I check my back pocket for the badge Zoe 
handed to me at dinner last night, and pass 
the security checkpoint with it in hand. Then 

I see the sculpture, a few hundred yards 
away from the doors we entered through yes- 
terday, gloomy and massive and mysterious, 
like a living entity. 

It is a huge slab of dark stone, square and 
rough, like the rocks at the bottom of the 
chasm. A large crack runs through the 
middle of it, and there are streaks of lighter 
rock near the edges. Suspended above the 
slab is a glass tank of the same dimensions, 
full of water. A light placed above the center 
of the tank shines through the water, refract- 
ing as it ripples. I hear a faint noise, a drop of 
water hitting the stone. It comes from a 
small tube running through the center of the 
tank. At first I think the tank is just leaking, 
but another drop falls, then a third, and a 
fourth, at the same interval. A few drops col- 
lect, and then disappear down a narrow 
channel in the stone. They must be 

"Hello." Zoe stands on the other side of the 
sculpture. "I'm sorry, I was about to go to the 
dormitory for you, then saw you heading this 
way and wondered if you were lost." 

"No, I'm not lost," I say. "This is where I 
meant to go." 

"Ah." She stands beside me and crosses 
her arms. She is about as tall as I am, but she 
stands straighter, so she seems taller. "Yeah, 
it's pretty weird, right?" 

As she talks I watch the freckles on her 
cheeks, dappled like sunlight through dense 

"Does it mean something?" 

"It's the symbol of the Bureau of Genetic 
Welfare," she says. "The slab of stone is the 
problem we're facing. The tank of water is 
our potential for changing that problem. And 
the drop of water is what we're actually able 
to do, at any given time." 

I can't help it— I laugh. "Not very encour- 
aging, is it?" 

She smiles. "That's one way of looking at 
it. I prefer to look at it another way— which is 
that if they are persistent enough, even tiny 
drops of water, over time, can change the 
rock forever. And it will never change back." 

She points to the center of the slab, where 
there is a small impression, like a shallow 
bowl carved into the stone. 

"That, for example, wasn't there when they 
installed this thing." 

I nod, and watch the next drop fall. Even 
though I'm wary of the Bureau and everyone 
in it, I can feel the quiet hope of the sculp- 
ture working its way through me. It's a prac- 
tical symbol, communicating the patient atti- 
tude that has allowed the people here to stay 
for so long, watching and waiting. But I have 
to ask. 

"Wouldn't it be more effective to unleash 
the whole tank at once?" I imagine the wave 
of water colliding with the rock and spilling 
over the tile floor, collecting around my 

shoes. Doing a little at once can fix 
something, eventually, but I feel like when 
you believe that something is truly a prob- 
lem, you throw everything you have at it, be- 
cause you just can't help yourself. 

"Momentarily," she says. "But then we 
wouldn't have any water left to do anything 
else, and genetic damage isn't the kind of 
problem that can be solved with one big 

"I understand that," I say. "I'm just won- 
dering if it's a good thing to resign yourself 
quite this much to small steps when you 
could take some big ones." 

"Like what?" 

I shrug. "I guess I don't really know. But 
it's worth thinking about." 
"Fair enough." 

"So . . . you said you were looking for me?" 
I say. "Why?" 

"Oh!" Zoe touches her forehead. "It slipped 
my mind. David asked me to find you and 

take you to the labs. There's something there 
that belonged to your mother." 

"My mother?" My voice comes out sound- 
ing strangled and too high. She leads me 
away from the sculpture and toward the se- 
curity checkpoint again. 

"Fair warning: You might get stared at," 
Zoe says as we walk through the security 
scanner. There are more people in the hall- 
ways up ahead now than there were earli- 
er—it must be time for them to start work. 
"Your face is a familiar one here. People in 
the Bureau watch the screens often, and for 
the past few months, you've been involved in 
a lot of interesting things. A lot of the young- 
er people think you're downright heroic." 

"Oh, good," I say, a sour taste in my 
mouth. "Heroism is what I was focused on. 
Not, you know, trying not to die." 

Zoe stops. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to 
make light of what you've been through." 

I still feel uncomfortable with the idea that 
everyone has been watching us, like I need to 
cover myself or hide where they can't look at 
me anymore. But there's not much Zoe can 
do about it, so I don't say anything. 

Most of the people walking the halls wear 
variations of the same uniform— it comes in 
dark blue or dull green, and some of them 
wear the jackets or jumpsuits or sweatshirts 
open, revealing T-shirts of a wide variety of 
colors, some with pictures drawn on them. 

"Do the colors of the uniforms mean any- 
thing?" I ask Zoe. 

"Yes, actually. Dark blue means scientist or 
researcher, and green means support 
staff— they do maintenance, upkeep, things 
like that." 

"So they're like the factionless." 

"No," she says. "No, the dynamic is differ- 
ent here— everyone does what they can to 
support the mission. Everyone is valued and 

She was right: People do stare at me. Most 
of them just look at me for a little too long, 
but some point, and some even say my name, 
like it belongs to them. It makes me feel 
cramped, like I can't move the way I want to. 

"A lot of the support staff used to be in the 
experiment in Indianapolis— another city, 
not far from here," Zoe says. "But for them, 
this transition has been a little bit easier than 
it will be for you— Indianapolis didn't have 
the behavioral components of your city." She 
pauses. "The factions, I mean. After a few 
generations, when your city didn't tear itself 
apart and the others did, the Bureau imple- 
mented the faction components in the newer 
cities— Saint Louis, Detroit, and Minneapol- 
is—using the relatively new Indianapolis ex- 
periment as a control group. The Bureau al- 
ways placed experiments in the Midwest, be- 
cause there's more space between urban 
areas here. Out east everything is closer 

"So in Indianapolis you just . . . corrected 
their genes and shoved them in a city some- 
where? Without factions?" 

"They had a complex system of rules, but . 
. . yes, that's essentially what happened." 

"And it didn't work very well?" 

"No." She purses her lips. "Genetically 
damaged people who have been conditioned 
by suffering and are not taught to live differ- 
ently, as the factions would have taught them 
to, are very destructive. That experiment 
failed quickly— within three generations. Ch- 
icago—your city— and the other cities that 
have factions have made it through much 
more than that." 

Chicago. It's so strange to have a name for 
the place that was always just home to me. It 
makes the city smaller in 
my mind. 

"So you guys have been doing this for a 
long time," I say. 

"Quite some time, yes. The Bureau is dif- 
ferent from most government agencies, be- 
cause of the focused nature of our work and 
our contained, relatively remote location. We 
pass on knowledge and purpose to our chil- 
dren, instead of relying on appointments or 
hiring. I've been training for what I'm doing 
now for my entire life." 

Through the abundant windows I see a 
strange vehicle— it's shaped like a bird, with 
two wing structures and a pointed nose, but 
it has wheels, like a car. 

"Is that for air travel?" I say, 
pointing at it. 

"Yes." She smiles. "It's an airplane. We 
might be able to take you up in one some- 
time, if it doesn't seem too daunting for 

I don't react to the play on words. I can't 
quite forget how she recognized me on sight. 

David is standing near one of the doors up 
ahead. He raises his hand in a wave when he 
sees us. 

"Hello, Tris," he says. "Thank you for 
bringing her, Zoe." 

"You're welcome, sir," Zoe says. "I'll leave 
you to it, then. Lots of work to do." 

She smiles at me, then walks away. I don't 
want her to leave— now that she's gone, I'm 
left with David and the memory of how I 
yelled at him yesterday. He doesn't say any- 
thing about it, just scans his badge in the 
door sensor to open it. 

The room beyond it is an office with no 
windows. A young man, maybe Tobias's age, 
sits at one desk, and another one, across the 
room, is empty. The young man looks up 
when we come in, taps something on his 
computer screen, and stands. 

"Hello, sir," he says. "Can I help you?" 

"Matthew. Where's your supervisor?" 
David says. 

"He's foraging for food in the 
cafeteria," Matthew says. 

"Well, maybe you can help me, then. I'll 
need Natalie Wright's file loaded on a port- 
able screen. Can you do that?" 

Wright? I think. Was that my mother's 
real last name? 

"Of course," Matthew says, and he sits 
again. He types something on his computer 
and pulls up a series of documents that I'm 
not close enough to see clearly. "Okay, it just 
has to transfer. 

"You must be Natalie's daughter, Be- 
atrice." He props his chin on his hand and 
looks at me critically. His eyes are so dark 
they look black, and they slant a little at the 
edges. He does not look impressed or sur- 
prised to see me. "You 
don't look much like her." 

"Tris," I say automatically. But I find it 
comforting that he doesn't know my nick- 
name—that must mean he doesn't spend all 

his time staring at the screens like our lives 
in the city are entertainment. "And yeah, I 

David pulls a chair over, letting it screech 
on the tile, and pats it. 

"Sit. I'll give you a screen with all Natalie's 
files on it so that you and your brother can 
read them yourselves, but while they're load- 
ing I might as well tell you the story." 

I sit on the edge of the chair, and he sits 
behind the desk of Matthew's supervisor, 
turning a half-empty coffee cup in circles on 
the metal. 

"Let me start by saying that your mother 
was a fantastic discovery. We located her al- 
most by accident inside the damaged world, 
and her genes were nearly perfect." David 
beams. "We took her out of a bad situation 
and brought her here. She spent several 
years here, but then we encountered a crisis 
within your city's walls, and she volunteered 

to be placed inside to resolve it. I'm sure you 
know all about that, though." 

For a few seconds all I can do is blink at 
him. My mother came from outside this 
place? Where? 

It hits me, again, that she walked these 
halls, watched the city on the screens in the 
control room. Had she sat in this chair? Had 
her feet touched these tiles? Suddenly I feel 
like there are invisible marks of my mother 
everywhere, on every wall and doorknob and 

I grip the edge of the seat and try to organ- 
ize my thoughts enough to ask a question. 

"No, I don't know," I say. "What crisis?" 

"The Erudite representative had just be- 
gun to kill the Divergent, of course," he says. 
"His name was Nor— Norman?" 

"Norton," says Matthew. "Jeanine's prede- 
cessor. Seems he passed on the idea of killing 
off the Divergent to her, right before his 
heart attack." 

"Thank you. Anyway, we sent Natalie in to 
investigate the situation and to stop the 
deaths. We never dreamed she would be in 
there for so long, of course, but she was use- 
ful—we had never thought about having an 
insider before, and she was able to do many 
things that were invaluable to us. As well as 
building a life for herself, which obviously in- 
cludes you." 

I frown. "But the Divergent were still being 
killed when I was an initiate." 

"You only know about the ones who died," 
David says. "Not about the ones who didn't 
die. Some of them are here, in this com- 
pound. I believe you met Amar earlier? He's 
one of them. Some of the rescued Divergent 
needed some distance from your experi- 
ment—it was too hard for them to watch the 
people they had once known and loved going 
about their lives, so they were trained to in- 
tegrate into life outside the Bureau. But yes, 
she did important work, your mother." 

She also told quite a few lies, and very few 
truths. I wonder if my father knew who she 
was, where she was really from. He was an 
Abnegation leader, after all, and as such, one 
of the keepers of the truth. I have a sudden, 
horrifying thought: What if she only married 
him because she was supposed to, as part of 
her mission in the city? What if their entire 
relationship was a 

"So she wasn't really born Dauntless," I say 
as I sort through the lies that must have 

"When she first entered the city, it was as a 
Dauntless, because she already had tattoos 
and that would have been hard to explain to 
the natives. She was sixteen, but we said she 
was fifteen so she would have some time to 
adjust. Our intention was for her to ..." He 
lifts a shoulder. "Well, you should read her 
file. I can't do a sixteen-year-old perspective 

As if on cue, Matthew opens a desk drawer 
and takes out a small, flat piece of glass. He 
taps it with one fingertip, and an image ap- 
pears on it. It's one of the documents he just 
had open on his computer. He offers the tab- 
let to me. It's sturdier than I expected it to 
be, hard and strong. 

"Don't worry, it's practically indestruct- 
ible," David says. "I'm sure you want to re- 
turn to your friends. Matthew, would you 
please walk Miss Prior back to the hotel? I 
have some things to take care of." 

"And I don't?" Matthew says. Then he 
winks. "Kidding, sir. I'll take her." 

"Thank you," I say to David, before he 
walks out. 

"Of course," he says. "Let me know if you 
have any questions." 

"Ready?" Matthew says. 

He's tall, maybe the same height as Caleb, 
and his black hair is artfully tousled in the 
front, like he spent a lot of time making it 

look like he'd just rolled out of bed that way. 
Under his dark blue uniform he wears a 
plain black T-shirt and a black string around 
his throat. It shifts over his Adam's apple 
when he swallows. 

I walk with him out of the small office and 
down the hallway again. The crowd that was 
here before has thinned. They must have 
settled in to work, or breakfast. There are 
whole lives being lived in this place, sleeping 
and eating and working, bearing children 
and raising families and dying. This is a 
place my mother called home, once. 

"I wonder when you're going to freak out," 
he says. "After finding out all this stuff at 

"I'm not going to freak out," I say, feeling 
defensive. I already did, I think, but I'm not 
going to admit to that. 

Matthew shrugs. "I would. But fair 

I see a sign that says HOTEL ENTRANCE 
up ahead. I clutch the screen to my chest, 
eager to get back to the dormitory and tell 
Tobias about my mother. 

"Listen, one of the things my supervisor 
and I do is genetic testing," Matthew says. "I 
was wondering if you and that other 
guy— Marcus Eaton's son? —would mind 
coming in so that I can test your genes." 


"Curiosity." He shrugs. "We haven't gotten 
to test the genes of someone in such a late 
generation of the experiment before, and you 
and Tobias seem to be somewhat . . . odd, in 
your manifestations of certain things." 

I raise my eyebrows. 

"You, for example, have displayed ex- 
traordinary serum resistance— most of the 
Divergent aren't as capable of resisting ser- 
ums as you are," Matthew says. "And Tobias 
can resist simulations, but he doesn't display 
some of the characteristics we've come to 

expect of the Divergent. I can explain in 
more detail later." 

I hesitate, not sure if I want to see my 
genes, or Tobias's genes, or to compare 
them, like it matters. But Matthew's expres- 
sion seems eager, almost childlike, and I un- 
derstand curiosity. 

"I'll ask him if he's up for it," I say. "But I 
would be willing. When?" 

"This morning okay?" he says. "I can come 
get you in an hour or so. You can't get into 
the labs without me anyway." 

I nod. I feel excited, suddenly, to learn 
more about my genes, which feels like the 
same thing as reading my mother's journal: I 
will get pieces of her back. 

IT'S STRANGE TO see people you don't 
know well in the morning, with sleepy eyes 
and pillow creases in their cheeks; to know 
that Christina is cheerful in the morning, and 

Peter wakes up with his hair perfectly flat, 
but Cara communicates only through a series 
of grunts, inching her way, limb by limb, to- 
ward coffee. 

The first thing I do is shower and change 
into the clothes they provided for us, which 
aren't much different from the clothes I am 
accustomed to, but all the colors are mixed 
together like they don't mean anything to the 
people here, and they probably don't. I wear 
a black shirt and blue jeans and try to con- 
vince myself that it feels normal, that I feel 
normal, that I am adapting. 

My father's trial is today. I haven't decided 
if I'm going to watch it or not. 

When I return, Tris is already fully 
dressed, perched on the edge of one of the 
cots, like she's ready to leap to her feet at any 
moment. Just like Evelyn. 

I grab a muffin from the tray of 

breakfast food that someone brought us, and 
sit across from her. "Good morning. You 
were up early." 

"Yeah," she says, scooting her foot forward 
so it's wedged between mine. "Zoe found me 
at that big sculpture thing this morn- 
ing—David had something to show me." She 
picks up the glass screen resting on the cot 
beside her. It glows when she touches it, 
showing a document. "It's my mother's file. 
She wrote a journal— a small one, from the 
look of it, but still." She shifts like she's un- 
comfortable. "I haven't looked at it much 

"So," I say, "why aren't you reading it?" 

"I don't know." She puts it down, and the 
screen turns off automatically. "I think I'm 
afraid of it." 

Abnegation children rarely know their par- 
ents in any significant way, because Abnega- 
tion parents never reveal themselves the way 
other parents do when their children grow to 

a particular age. They keep themselves 
wrapped in gray cloth armor and selfless 
acts, convinced that to share is to be self-in- 
dulgent. This is not just a piece of Tris's 
mother, recovered; it's one of the first and 
last honest glimpses Tris will ever get of who 
Natalie Prior was. 

I understand, then, why she holds it like 
it's a magical object, something that could 
disappear in a moment. And why she wants 
to leave it undiscovered for a while, which is 
the same way I feel about my father's trial. It 
could tell her something she doesn't want to 

I follow her eyes across the room to where 
Caleb sits, chewing on a bite of cereal— mor- 
osely, like a pouting child. 

"Are you going to show it to him?" I say. 

She doesn't respond. 

"Usually I don't advocate giving him any- 
thing," I say. "But in this case . . . this doesn't 
really just belong to you." 

"I know that," she says, a little tersely. "Of 
course I'll show it to him. But I think I want 
to be alone with it first." 

I can't argue with that. Most of my life has 
been spent keeping information close, turn- 
ing it over and over in my mind. The impulse 
to share anything is a new one, the impulse 
to hide as natural as breathing. 

She sighs, then breaks a piece off the 
muffin in my hand. I flick her fingers as she 
pulls away. "Hey. There are plenty more just 
five feet to your right." 

"Then you shouldn't be so worried about 
losing some of yours," she says, grinning. 

"Fair enough." 

She pulls me toward her by the front of my 
shirt and kisses me. I slip my hand under her 
chin and hold her still as I kiss her back. 

Then I notice that she's stealing another 
pinch of muffin, and I pull away, glaring at 

"Seriously," I say. "I'll get you one from 
that table. It'll only take me a second." 

She grins. "So, there's something I wanted 
to ask you. Would you be up for undergoing 
a little genetic test this morning?" 

The phrase "a little genetic test" strikes me 
as an oxymoron. 

"Why?" I say. Asking to see my genes feels 
a little like asking me to strip down. 

"Well, this guy I met— Matthew is his 
name— works in one of the labs here, and he 
says they would be interested in looking at 
our genetic material for research," she says. 
"And he asked about you, specifically, be- 
cause you're sort of an anomaly." 


"Apparently you display some Divergent 
characteristics and you don't display others," 
she says. "I don't know. He's just curious 
about it. You don't have to do it." 

The air around my head feels warmer and 
heavier. To alleviate the discomfort I touch 

the back of my neck, scratching at my 

Sometime in the next hour or so, Marcus 
and Evelyn will be on the screens. Suddenly I 
know that I can't 

So even though I don't really want to let a 
stranger examine the puzzle pieces that 
make up my existence, I say, "Sure. I'll do it." 

"Great," she says, and she eats another 
pinch of my muffin. A piece of hair falls into 
her eyes, and I am brushing it back before 
she even notices it. She covers my hand with 
her own, which is warm and strong, and the 
corners of her mouth curl into a smile. 

The door opens, admitting a young man 
with slanted, angular eyes and black hair. I 
recognize him immediately as George Wu, 
Tori's younger brother. "Georgie" was the 
name she called him. 

He smiles a giddy smile, and I feel the urge 
to back away, to put more space between me 
and his impending grief. 

"I just got back," he says, breathless. "They 
told me my sister set out with you guys, 

Tris and I exchange a troubled look. All 
around us, the others are noticing George by 
the door and going quiet, the same kind of 
quiet you hear at an Abnegation funeral. 
Even Peter, who I would expect to crave oth- 
er people's pain, looks bewildered, shifting 
his hands from his waist to his pockets and 
back again. 

"And ..." George begins again. "Why are 
you all looking at me like 

Cara steps forward, about to bear the bad 
news, but I can't imagine Cara sharing it 
well, so I get up, talking over her. 

"Your sister did leave with us," I say. "But 
we were attacked by the factionless, and she . 
. . didn't make it." 

There is so much that phrase doesn't 
say— how quick it was, and the sound of her 
body hitting the earth, and the chaos of 
everyone running into the night, stumbling 
over the grass. I didn't go back for her. I 
should have— of all the people in our party, I 
knew Tori best, knew how tightly her hands 
squeezed the tattoo needle and how her 
laugh sounded rough, like it had been 
scraped with 

George touches the wall behind him for 
stability. "What?" 

"She gave her life defending us," Tris says 
with surprising gentleness. "Without her, 
none of us would have made it out." 

"She's . . . dead?" George says weakly. He 
leans his entire body into the wall, and his 
shoulders sag. 

I see Amar in the hallway, a piece of toast 
in his hand and a smile quickly fading from 
his face. He sets the toast down on a table by 
the door. 

"I tried to find you earlier to tell you," 
Amar says. 

Last night Amar said George's name so 
casually, I didn't think they really knew each 
other. Apparently they do. 

George's eyes turn glassy, and Amar pulls 
him into an embrace with one arm. George's 
fingers are bent at harsh angles into Amar's 
shirt, the knuckles white with tension. I don't 
hear him cry, and maybe he doesn't, maybe 
all he needs to do is hold on to something. I 
have only hazy memories of my own grief 
over my mother, when I thought she was 
dead— just the feeling that I was separate 
from everything around me, and this con- 
stant sensation of needing to swallow 
something. I don't know what it's like for 
other people. 

Eventually, Amar leads George out of the 
room, and I watch them walk down the hall- 
way side by side, talking in low voices. 
I barely remember that I agreed to particip- 
ate in a genetic test until someone else ap- 
pears at the door to the dormitory— a boy, or 
not really a boy, since he looks about as old 
as I am. He waves to Tris. 

"Oh, that's Matthew," she says. "I guess we 
should get going." 

She takes my hand and leads me toward 
the doorway. Somehow I missed her men- 
tioning that "Matthew" wasn't a crusty old 
scientist. Or maybe she didn't mention it at 

Don't be stupid, I think. 

Matthew sticks out his hand. "Hi. It's nice 
to meet you. I'm Matthew." 

"Tobias," I say, because "Four" sounds 
strange here, where people would never 
identify themselves by how many fears they 
have. "You too." 

"So let's go to the labs, I guess," he says. 
"They're this way." 

The compound is thick with people this 
morning, all dressed in green or dark blue 
uniforms that pool around the ankles or stop 
several inches above the shoe, depending on 
the height of the person. The compound is 
full of open areas that branch off the major 
hallways, like chambers of a heart, each 
marked with a letter and a number, and the 
people seem to be moving between them, 
some carrying glass devices like the one Tris 
brought back this morning, some empty- 

"What's with the numbers?" says Tris. 
"Just a way of labeling each area?" 

"They used to be gates," says Matthew. 
"Meaning that each one has a door and a 
walkway that led to a particular airplane go- 
ing to a particular destination. When they 
converted the airport into the compound, 
they ripped out all the chairs people used to 

wait for their flights in and replaced them 
with lab equipment, mostly taken from 
schools in the city. This area of the com- 
pound is basically a giant laboratory." 

"What are they working on? I thought you 
were just observing the experiments," I say, 
watching a woman rush from one side of the 
hallway to the other with a screen balanced 
on both palms like an offering. Beams of 
light stretch across the polished tile, slanting 
through the ceiling windows. Through the 
windows everything looks peaceful, every 
blade of grass trimmed and the wild trees 
swaying in the distance, and it's hard to ima- 
gine that people are destroying one another 
out there because of "damaged genes" or liv- 
ing under Evelyn's strict rules in the city we 

"Some of them are doing that. Everything 
that they notice in all the remaining experi- 
ments has to be recorded and analyzed, so 
that requires a lot of manpower. But some of 

them are also working on better ways to treat 
the genetic damage, or developing the ser- 
ums for our own use instead of the experi- 
ments' use— dozens of projects. All you have 
to do is come up with an idea, gather a team 
together, and propose it to the council that 
runs the compound under David. They usu- 
ally approve anything that isn't too risky." 

"Yeah," says Tris. "Wouldn't want to take 
any risks." 

She rolls her eyes a little. 

"They have a good reason for their en- 
deavors," Matthew says. "Before the factions 
were introduced, and the serums with them, 
the experiments all used to be under near- 
constant assault from within. The serums 
help the people in the experiment to keep 
things under control, especially the memory 
serum. Well, I guess no one's working on 
that right now —it's in the Weapons Lab." 

"Weapons Lab." He says the words like 
they're fragile in his mouth. Sacred words. 

"So the Bureau gave us the serums, in the 
beginning," Tris says. 

"Yes," he says. "And then the Erudite con- 
tinued to work on them, to perfect them. In- 
cluding your brother. To be honest, we got 
some of our serum developments from them, 
by observing them in the control room. Only 
they didn't do much with the memory serum 
—the Abnegation serum. We did a lot more 
with that, since it's our greatest weapon." 

"A weapon," Tris repeats. 

"Well, it arms the cities against their own 
rebellions, for one thing— erase people's 
memories and there's no need to kill them; 
they just forget what they were fighting 
about. And we can also use it against rebels 
from the fringe, which is about an hour from 
here. Sometimes fringe dwellers try to raid, 
and the memory serum stops them without 
killing them." 

"That's ..." I start. 

"Still kind of awful?" Matthew 

supplies. "Yes, it is. But the higher-ups here 
think of it as our life support, our breathing 
machine. Here we are." 

I raise my eyebrows. He just spoke out 
against his own leaders so casually I almost 
missed it. I wonder if that's the kind of place 
this is— where dissent can be expressed in 
public, in the middle of a normal conversa- 
tion, instead of in secret spaces, with hushed 

He scans his card at a heavy door on our 
left, and we walk down another hallway, this 
one narrow and lit with pale, fluorescent 
light. He stops at a door marked GENE 
THERAPY ROOM l. Inside, a girl with light 
brown skin and a green jumpsuit is replacing 
the paper 

that covers the exam table. 

"This is Juanita, the lab technician. Juan- 
ita, this is—" 

"Yeah, I know who they are," she says, 
smiling. Out of the corner of my eye I see 

Tris stiffen, chafing against the reminder 
that our lives have been on camera. But she 
doesn't say anything about it. 

The girl offers me her hand. "Matthew's 
supervisor is the only person who calls me 
Juanita. Except Matthew, apparently. I'm 
Nita. You'll need two tests prepared?" 

Matthew nods. 

"I'll get them." She opens a set of cabinets 
across the room and starts pulling things 
out. All of them are encased in plastic and 
paper and have white labels. The room is full 
of the sound of crinkling and ripping. 

"How do you guys like it here so far?" she 
asks us. 

"It's been an adjustment," I say. 

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Nita smiles 
at me. "I came from one of the other experi- 
ments—the one in Indianapolis, the one that 
failed. Oh, you don't know where Indiana- 
polis is, do you? It's not far from here. Less 
than an hour by plane." She pauses. "That 

won't mean anything to you either. You 
know what? It's not important." 

She takes a syringe and needle from its 
plastic-paper wrapping, and Tris 

"What's that for?" Tris says. 

"It's what will enable us to read your 
genes," Matthew says. "Are you okay?" 

"Yeah," Tris says, but she's still tense. "I 
just . . . don't like to be injected with strange 

Matthew nods. "I swear it's just going to 
read your genes. That's all it does. Nita can 
vouch for it." 

Nita nods. 

"Okay," Tris says. "But ... can I do it to 

"Sure," Nita says. She prepares the syr- 
inge, filling it with whatever they intend to 
inject us with, and offers it to Tris. 

"I'll give you the simplified explanation of 
how this works," Matthew says as Nita 

brushes Tris's arm with antiseptic. The smell 
is sour, and it nips at the inside of my nose. 

"The fluid is packed with microcomputers. 
They are designed to detect specific genetic 
markers and transmit the data to a com- 
puter. It will take them about an hour to give 
me as much information as I need, though it 
would take them much longer to read all 
your genetic material, obviously." 

Tris sticks the needle into her arm and 
presses the plunger. 

Nita beckons my arm forward and drags 
the orange-stained gauze over my skin. The 
fluid in the syringe is silvergray, like fish 
scales, and as it flows into me through the 
needle, I imagine the microscopic technology 
chewing through my body, reading me and 
analyzing me. Beside me, Tris holds a cotton 
ball to her pricked skin and offers me a small 

"What are the . . . microcomputers?" Mat- 
thew nods, and I continue. "What are they 
looking for, exactly?" 

"Well, when our predecessors at the Bur- 
eau inserted 'corrected' genes into your an- 
cestors, they also included a genetic tracker, 
which is basically something that shows us 
that a person has achieved genetic healing. 
In this case, the genetic tracker is awareness 
during simulations— it's something we can 
easily test for, which shows us if your genes 
are healed or not. That's one of the reasons 
why everyone in the city has to take the 
aptitude test at sixteen— if they're aware dur- 
ing the test, that shows us that they might 
have healed genes." 

I add the aptitude test to a mental list of 
things that were once so important to me, 
cast aside because it was just a ruse to get 
these people the information or result they 

I can't believe that awareness during simu- 
lations, something that made me feel power- 
ful and unique, something Jeanine and the 
Erudite killed people for, is actually just a 
sign of genetic healing to these people. Like a 
special code word, telling them I'm in their 
genetically healed society. 

Matthew continues, "The only problem 
with the genetic tracker is that being aware 
during simulations and resisting serums 
doesn't necessarily mean that a person is 
Divergent, it's just a strong correlation. So- 
metimes people will be aware during simula- 
tions or be able to resist serums even if they 
still have damaged genes." He shrugs. 
"That's why I'm interested in your genes, To- 
bias. I'm curious to see if you're actually 
Divergent, or if your simulation awareness 
just makes it look like you are." 

Nita, who is clearing the counter, presses 
her lips together like she is holding words 

inside her mouth. I feel suddenly uneasy. 
There's a chance I'm not actually Divergent? 

"All that's left is to sit and wait," Matthew 
says. "I'm going to go get breakfast. Do either 
of you want something to eat?" 

Tris and I both shake our heads. 

"I'll be back soon. Nita, keep them com- 
pany, would you?" 

Matthew leaves without waiting for Nita's 
response, and Tris sits on the examination 
table, the paper crinkling beneath her and 
tearing where her leg hangs over the edge. 
Nita puts her hands in her jumpsuit pockets 
and looks at us. Her eyes are dark, with the 
same sheen as a puddle of oil beneath a leak- 
ing engine. She hands me a cotton ball, and I 
press it to the bubble of blood inside my 

"So you came from a city experiment," says 
Tris. "How long have you been here?" 

"Since the Indianapolis experiment was 
disbanded, which was about eight years ago. 

I could have integrated into the greater pop- 
ulation, outside the experiments, but that felt 
too overwhelming." Nita leans against the 
counter. "So I volunteered to come here. I 
used to be a janitor. I'm moving through the 
ranks, I guess." 

She says it with a certain amount of bitter- 
ness. I suspect that here, as in Dauntless, 
there is a limit to her climb through the 
ranks, and she is reaching it earlier than she 
would like to. The same way I did, when I 
chose my job in the control room. 

"And your city, it didn't have factions?" 
Tris says. 

"No, it was the control group— it helped 
them to figure out that the factions were ac- 
tually effective by comparison. It had a lot of 
rules, though— curfew, wake-up times, safety 
regulations. No weapons allowed. Stuff like 

"What happened?" I say, and a moment 
later I wish I hadn't asked, because the 

corners of Nita's mouth turn down, like the 
memory hangs heavy from each side. 

"Well, a few of the people inside still knew 
how to make weapons. They made a 
bomb— you know, an explosive —and set it 
off in the government building," she says. 
"Lots of people died. And after that, the Bur- 
eau decided our experiment was a failure. 
They erased the memories of the bombers 
and relocated the rest of us. I'm one of the 
only ones who wanted to come here." 

"I'm sorry," Tris says softly. Sometimes I 
still forget to look for the gentler parts of her. 
For so long all I saw was the strength, stand- 
ing out like the wiry muscles in her arms or 
the black ink marking her collarbone with 

"It's all right. It's not like you guys don't 
know about stuff like this," says Nita. "With 
what Jeanine Matthews did, and all." 

"Why haven't they shut our city down?" 
Tris says. "The same way they did to yours?" 

"They might still shut it down," says Nita. 
"But I think the Chicago experiment, in par- 
ticular, has been a success for so long that 
they'll be a little reluctant to just ditch it 
now. It was the first one with factions." 

I take the cotton ball away from my arm. 
There is a tiny red dot where the needle went 
in, but it isn't bleeding anymore. 

"I like to think I would have chosen Daunt- 
less," says Nita. "But I don't think I would 
have had the stomach for it." 

"You'd be surprised what you have the 
stomach for, when you have to," Tris says. 

I feel a pang in the middle of my chest. 
She's right. Desperation can make a person 
do surprising things. We would both know. 

Matthew returns right at the hour mark, 
and he sits at the computer for a long time 
after that, his eyes flicking back and forth as 
he reads the screen. A few times he makes a 
revelatory noise, a "hmm!" or an "ah!" The 
longer he waits to tell us something, 

anything, the more tense my muscles be- 
come, until my shoulders feel like they are 
made of stone instead of flesh. Finally he 
looks up and turns the screen around so we 
can see what's on it. 

"This program helps us to interpret the 
data in an understandable way. What you see 
here is a simplified depiction of a particular 
DNA sequence in Tris's genetic material," he 

The picture on the screen is a complicated 
mass of lines and numbers, with certain 
parts selected in yellow and red. I can't make 
any sense of the picture beyond that— it is 
above my level of comprehension. 

"These selections here suggest healed 
genes. We wouldn't see them if the genes 
were damaged." He taps certain parts of the 
screen. I don't understand what he's pointing 
at, but he doesn't seem to notice, caught up 
in his own explanation. "These selections 
over here indicate that the program also 

found the genetic tracker, the simulation 
awareness. The combination of healed genes 
and simulation awareness genes is just what 
I expected to see from a Divergent. Now, this 
is the strange part." 

He touches the screen again, and the 
screen changes, but it remains just as confus- 
ing, a web of lines, tangled threads of 

"This is the map of Tobias's genes," Mat- 
thew says. "As you can see, he has the right 
genetic components for simulation aware- 
ness, but he doesn't have the same 'healed' 
genes that Tris does." 

My throat is dry, and I feel like I've been 
given bad news, but I still haven't entirely 
grasped what that bad news is. 

"What does that mean?" I ask. 

"It means," Matthew says, "that you are 
not Divergent. Your genes are still damaged, 
but you have a genetic anomaly that allows 
you to be aware during simulations anyway. 

You have, in other words, the appearance of 
a Divergent without actually being one." 

I process the information slowly, piece by 
piece. I'm not Divergent. I'm not like Tris. 
I'm genetically damaged. 

The word "damaged" sinks inside me like 
it's made of lead. I guess I always knew there 
was something wrong with me, but I thought 
it was because of my father, or my mother, 
and the pain they bequeathed to me like a 
family heirloom, handed down from genera- 
tion to generation. And this means that the 
one good thing my father had— his Diver- 
gence—didn't reach me. 

I don't look at Tris— I can't bear it. Instead 
I look at Nita. Her expression is hard, almost 

"Matthew," she says. "Don't you want to 
take this data to your lab to analyze?" 

"Well, I was planning on discussing it with 
our subjects here," Matthew says. 

"I don't think that's a good idea," Tris says, 
sharp as a blade. 

Matthew says something I don't really 
hear; I'm listening to the thump of my heart. 
He taps the screen again, and the picture of 
my DNA disappears, so the screen is blank, 
just glass. He leaves, instructing us to visit 
his lab if we want more information, and 
Tris, Nita, and I stand in the room in silence. 

"It's not that big a deal," Tris says firmly. 

"You don't get to tell me it's not a big 
deal!" I say, louder than I mean to be. 

Nita busies herself at the counter, making 
sure the containers there are lined up, 
though they haven't moved since we first 
came in. 

"Yeah, I do!" Tris exclaims. "You're the 
same person you were five minutes ago and 
four months ago and eighteen years ago! 
This doesn't change anything about you." 

I hear something in her words that's right, 
but it's hard to believe her right now. 

"So you're telling me this affects nothing," 
I say. "The truth affects nothing." 

"What truth?" she says. "These people tell 
you there's something wrong with your 
genes, and you just believe it?" 

"It was right there." I gesture to the screen. 
"You saw it." 

"I also see you," she says fiercely, her hand 
closing around my arm. "And I know who 
you are." 

I shake my head. I still can't look at her, 
can't look at anything in particular. "I . . . 
need to take a walk. I'll see you later." 

"Tobias, wait-" 

I walk out, and some of the pressure inside 
me releases as soon as I'm not in that room 
anymore. I walk down the cramped hallway 
that presses against me like an exhale, and 
into the sunlit halls beyond it. The sky is 

bright blue now. I hear footsteps behind me, 
but they're too heavy to belong to Tris. 

"Hey." Nita twists her foot, making it 
squeak against the tile. "No pressure, but I'd 
like to talk to you about all this . . . genetic- 
damage stuff. If you're interested, meet me 
here tonight at nine. And ... no offense to 
your girl or anything, but you might not want 
to bring her." 

"Why?" I say. 

"She's a GP— genetically pure. So she can't 
understand that— well, it's hard to explain. 
Just trust me, okay? She's better off staying 
away for a little while." 


"Okay." Nita nods. "Gotta go." 

I watch her run back toward the gene ther- 
apy room, and then I keep walking. I don't 
know where I'm going, exactly, just that 
when I walk, the frenzy of information I've 
learned in the past day stops moving quite so 

fast, stops shouting quite so loud inside my 


I DON'T GO after him, because I don't know 
what to say. 

When I found out I was Divergent, I 
thought of it as a secret power that no one 
else possessed, something that made me dif- 
ferent, better, stronger. Now, after compar- 
ing my DNA to Tobias's on a computer 
screen, I realize that "Divergent" doesn't 
mean as much as I thought it did. It's just a 
word for a particular sequence in my DNA, 
like a word for all people with brown eyes or 
blond hair. 

I lean my head into my hands. But these 
people still think it means something— they 
still think it means I'm healed in a way that 
Tobias is not. And they want me to just trust 
that, believe it. 

Well, I don't. And I'm not sure why Tobias 
does— why he's so eager to believe that he is 

I don't want to think about it anymore. I 
leave the gene therapy room just as Nita is 
walking back to it. 

"What did you say to him?" I say. 

She's pretty. Tall but not too tall, thin but 
not too thin, her skin rich with 

"I just made sure he knew where he was 
going," she says. "It's a confusing place." 

"It certainly is." I start toward— well, I 
don't know where I'm going, but it's away 
from Nita, the pretty girl who talks to my 
boyfriend when I'm not there. Then again, 
it's not like it was a long conversation. 

I spot Zoe at the end of the hallway, and 
she waves me toward her. She looks more re- 
laxed now than she did earlier this morning, 
her forehead smooth instead of creased, her 

hair loose over her shoulders. She shoves her 
hands into the pockets of her jumpsuit. 

"I just told the others," she says. "We've 
scheduled a plane ride in two hours for those 
who want to go. Are you up for it?" 

Fear and excitement squirm together in 
my stomach, just like they did before I was 
strapped in on the zip line atop the Hancock 
building. I imagine hurtling into the air in a 
car with wings, the energy of the engine and 
the rush of wind through all the spaces in the 
walls and the possibility, however slight, that 
something will fail and I will plummet to my 

"Yes," I say. 

"We're meeting at gate B14. Follow the 
signs!" She flashes a smile as she 

I look through the windows above me. The 
sky is clear and pale, the same color as my 
own eyes. There is a kind of inevitability in it, 
like it has always been waiting for me, maybe 

because I relish height while others fear it, or 
maybe because once you have seen the 
things that I have seen, there is only one 
frontier left to explore, and it is above. 

The metal stairs leading down to the 
pavement screech with each of my footsteps. 
I have to tilt my head back to look at the air- 
plane, which is bigger than I expected it to 
be, and silver-white. Just below the wing is a 
huge cylinder with spinning blades inside it. 
I imagine the blades sucking me in and spit- 
ting me out the other side, and shudder a 

"How can something that big stay in the 
sky?" Uriah says from behind me. 

I shake my head. I don't know, and I don't 
want to think about it. I follow Zoe up anoth- 
er set of stairs, this one connected to a hole 
in the side of the plane. My hand shakes 
when I grab the railing, and I look over my 
shoulder one last time, to check if Tobias 

caught up to us. He isn't there. I haven't seen 
him since the genetic test. 

I duck when I go through the hole, though 
it's taller than my head. Inside the airplane 
are rows and rows of seats covered in ripped, 
fraying blue fabric. I choose one near the 
front, next to a window. A metal bar pushes 
against my spine. It feels like a chair skeleton 
with barely any flesh to support it. 

Cara sits behind me, and Peter and Caleb 
move toward the back of the plane and sit 
near each other, next to the window. I didn't 
know they were friends. It seems fitting, giv- 
en how despicable they both are. 

"How old is this thing?" I ask Zoe, who 
stands near the front. 

"Pretty old," she says. "But we've com- 
pletely redone the important stuff. It's a nice 
size for what we need." 

"What do you use it for?" 

"Surveillance missions, mostly. We 

like to keep an eye on what's happening in 
the fringe, in case it threatens what's hap- 
pening in here." Zoe pauses. "The fringe is a 
large, sort of chaotic place between Chicago 
and the nearest government-regulated met- 
ropolitan area, Milwaukee, which is about a 
three-hour drive from here." 

I would like to ask what exactly is happen- 
ing in the fringe, but Uriah and Christina sit 
in the seats next to me, and the moment is 
lost. Uriah puts an armrest down between us 
and leans over me to look out the window. 

"If the Dauntless knew about this, every- 
one would be getting in line to learn how to 
drive it," he says. "Including me." 

"No, they would be strapping themselves 
to the wings." Christina pokes his arm. 
"Don't you know your own faction?" 

Uriah pokes her cheek in response, then 
turns back to the window again. 

"Have either of you seen Tobias lately?" I 

"No, haven't seen him," Christina says. 
"Everything okay?" 

Before I can answer, an older woman with 
lines around her mouth stands in the aisle 
between the rows of seats and claps her 

"My name is Karen, and I'll be flying this 
plane today!" she announces. "It may seem 
frightening, but remember: The odds of us 
crashing are actually much lower than the 
odds of a car crash." 

"So are the odds of survival if we do crash," 
Uriah mutters, but he's grinning. His dark 
eyes are alert, and he looks giddy, like a 
child. I haven't seen him this way since Mar- 
lene died. He's handsome again. 

Karen disappears into the front of the 
plane, and Zoe sits across the aisle from 
Christina, twisting around to call out instruc- 
tions like "Buckle your seat belts!" and 
"Don't stand up until we've reached our 
cruising altitude!" I'm not sure what cruising 

altitude is, and she doesn't explain it, in true 
Zoe fashion. It was almost a miracle that she 
remembered to explain the fringe earlier. 

The plane starts to move backward, and 
I'm surprised by how smooth it feels, like 
we're already floating over the ground. Then 
it turns and glides over the pavement, which 
is painted with dozens of lines and symbols. 
My heart beats faster the farther we go away 
from the compound, and then Karen's voice 
speaks through an intercom: "Prepare for 

I clench the armrests as the plane lurches 
into motion. The momentum presses me 
back against the skeleton chair, and the view 
out the window turns into a smear of color. 
Then I feel it— the lift, the rising of the plane, 
and I see the ground stretching wide beneath 
us, everything getting smaller by the second. 
My mouth hangs open and I forget to 

I see the compound, shaped like the pic- 
ture of a neuron I once saw in my science 
textbook, and the fence that surrounds it. 
Around it is a web of concrete roads with 
buildings sandwiched between them. 

And then suddenly, I can't even see the 
roads or the buildings anymore, because 
there is just a sheet of gray and green and 
brown beneath us, and farther than I can see 
in any direction is land, land, land. 

I don't know what I expected. To see the 
place where the world ends, like a giant cliff 
hanging in the sky? 

What I didn't expect is to know that I have 
been a person standing in a house that I can't 
even see from here. That I have walked a 
street among hundreds— thousands— of oth- 
er streets. 

What I didn't expect is to feel so, so small. 

"We can't fly too high or too close to the 
city because we don't want to draw attention, 
so we'll observe from a great distance. 

Coming up on the left side of the plane is 
some of the destruction caused by the Purity 
War, before the rebels resorted to biological 
warfare instead of explosives," Zoe says. 

I have to blink tears from my eyes 
before I can see it, what looks at first to be a 
group of dark buildings. Upon further exam- 
ination, I realize that the buildings aren't 
supposed to be dark— they're charred bey- 
ond recognition. Some of them are flattened. 
The pavement between them is broken in 
pieces like a cracked eggshell. 

It resembles certain parts of the city, but at 
the same time, it doesn't. The city's destruc- 
tion could have been caused by people. This 
had to have been caused by something else, 
something bigger. 

"And now you'll get a brief look at Chica- 
go!" Zoe says. "You'll see that some of the 
lake was drained so that we could build the 
fence, but we left as much of it intact as 

At her words I see the two-pronged Hub as 
small as a toy in the distance, the jagged line 
of our city interrupting the sea of concrete. 
And beyond it, a brown expanse— the 
marsh— and just past that . . . blue. 

Once I slid down a zip line from the Han- 
cock building and imagined what the marsh 
looked like full of water, bluegray and gleam- 
ing under the sun. And now that I can see 
farther than I have ever seen, I know that far 
beyond our city's limits, it is just like what I 
imagined, the lake in the distance glinting 
with streaks of light, marked with the texture 
of waves. 

The plane is silent around me except for 
the steady roar of the engine. 

"Whoa," says Uriah. 

"Shh," Christina replies. 

"How big is it compared to the rest of the 
world?" Peter says from across the plane. He 
sounds like he's choking on each word. "Our 

city, I mean. In terms of land area. What 

"Chicago takes up about two hundred 
twenty-seven square miles," says Zoe. "The 
land area of the planet is a little less than two 
hundred million square miles. The percent- 
age is ... so small as to be negligible." 

She delivers the facts calmly, as if they 
mean nothing to her. But they hit me square 
in the stomach, and I feel squeezed, like 
something is crushing me into myself. So 
much space. I wonder what it's like in the 
places beyond ours; I wonder how people 
live there. 

I look out the window again, taking slow, 
deep breaths into a body too tense to move. 
And as I stare out at the land, I think that 
this, if nothing else, is compelling evidence 
for my parents' God, that our world is so 
massive that it is completely out of our con- 
trol, that we cannot possibly be as large as 
we feel. 

So small as to be negligible. 

It's strange, but there's something in that 
thought that makes me feel almost . . . free. 
That evening, when everyone else is at din- 
ner, I sit on the window ledge in the dormit- 
ory and turn on the screen David gave me. 
My hands tremble as I open the file labeled 

The first entry reads: 

David keeps asking me to write down what 
I experienced. I think he expects it to be hor- 
rifying, maybe even wants it to be. I guess 
parts of it were, but they were bad for every- 
one, so it's not like I'm special. 

I grew up in a single-family home in Mil- 
waukee, Wisconsin. I never knew much 
about who was inside the territory outside 
the city (which everyone around here calls 
"the fringe"), just that I wasn't supposed to 
go there. My mom was in law enforcement; 
she was explosive and impossible to please. 
My dad was a teacher; he was pliable and 

supportive and useless. One day they got into 
it in the living room and things got out of 
hand, and he grabbed her and she shot him. 
That night she was burying his body in the 
backyard while I assembled a good portion of 
my possessions and left through the front 
door. I never saw her again. 

Where I grew up, tragedy is all over the 
place. Most of my friends' parents drank 
themselves stupid or yelled too much or had 
stopped loving each other a long time ago, 
and that was just the way of things, no big 
deal. So when I left I'm sure I was just anoth- 
er item on a long list of awful things that had 
happened in our neighborhood in the past 

I knew that if I went anyplace official, like 
to another city, the government types would 
just make me go home to my mom, and I 
didn't think I would ever be able to look at 
her without seeing the streak of blood my 
dad's head left on the living room carpet, so I 

didn't go anyplace official. I went to the 
fringe, where a whole bunch of people are 
living in a little colony made of tarp and alu- 
minum in some of the postwar wreckage, liv- 
ing on scraps and burning old papers for 
warmth because the government can't 
provide, since they're spending all their re- 
sources trying to put us back together again, 
and have been for over a century after the 
war ripped us apart. Or they won't provide. I 
don't know. 

One day I saw a grown man beating up one 
of the kids in the fringe, and I hit him over 
the head with a plank to get him to stop and 
he died, right there in the street. I was only 
thirteen. I ran. I got snatched by some guy in 
a van, some guy who looked like police. But 
he didn't take me to the side of the road to 
shoot me and he didn't take me to jail; he 
just took me to this secure area and tested 
my genes and told me all about the city ex- 
periments and how my genes were cleaner 

than other people's. He even showed me a 
map of my genes on a screen to prove it. 

But I killed a man just like my mother did. 
David says it's okay because I didn't mean to, 
and because he was about to kill that little 
kid. But I'm pretty sure my mom didn't mean 
to kill my dad, either, so what difference 
does that make, meaning or not meaning to 
do something? Accident or on purpose, the 
result is the same, and that's one fewer life 
than there should be in the world. 

That's what I experienced, I guess. And to 
hear David talk about it, it's like it all 
happened because a long, long time ago 
people tried to mess with human nature and 
ended up making it worse. 

I guess that makes sense. Or I'd like it to. 

My teeth dig into my lower lip. Here in the 
Bureau compound, people are sitting in the 
cafeteria right now, eating and drinking and 
laughing. In the city, they're probably doing 

the same thing. Ordinary life surrounds me, 
and I am alone with these revelations. 

I clutch the screen to my chest. My mother 
was from here. This place is both my ancient 
and my recent history. I can feel her in the 
walls, in the air. I can feel her settled inside 
me, never to leave again. Death could not 
erase her; she is permanent. 

The cold from the glass seeps through my 
shirt, and I shiver. Uriah and Christina walk 
through the door to the dormitory, laughing 
about something. Uriah's clear eyes and 
steady footsteps fill me with a sense of relief, 
and my eyes well up with tears all of a sud- 
den. He and Christina both look alarmed, 
and they lean against the windows on either 
side of me. 

"You okay?" she says. 

I nod and blink the tears away. "Where 
have you guys been today?" 

"After the plane ride we went and watched 
the screens in the control room for a while," 

Uriah says. "It's really weird to see what 
they're up to now that we're gone. Just more 
of the same— Evelyn's a jerk, so are all her 
lackeys, and so on— but it was like getting a 
news report." 

"I don't think I'd like to look at those," I 
say. "Too . . . creepy and invasive." 

Uriah shrugs. "I don't know, if they want 
to watch me scratch my butt or eat dinner, I 
feel like that says more about them than 
about me." 

I laugh. "How often are you scratching 
your butt, exactly?" 

He jostles me with his elbow. 

"Not to derail the conversation from buffs, 
which we can all agree is incredibly import- 
ant—" Christina smiles a little. "But I'm with 
you, Tris. Just watching those screens made 
me feel awful, like I was doing something 
sneaky. I think I'll be staying away from now 

She points to the screen in my lap, where 
the light still glows around my mother's 
words. "What's that?" 

"As it turns out," I say, "my mother was 
from here. Well, she was from the world out- 
side, but then she came here, and when she 
was fifteen, she was placed in Chicago as a 

Christina says, "Your mother was from 

I nod. "Yeah. Insane. Even weirder, she 
wrote this journal and left it with them. 
That's what I was reading before you came 

"Wow," Christina says softly. "That's good, 
right? I mean, that you get to learn more 
about her." 

"Yeah, it's good. And no, I'm not still up- 
set, you can stop looking at me like that." 
The look of concern that had been building 
on Uriah's face disappears. 

I sigh. "I just keep thinking . . . that in 
some way I belong here. Like maybe this 
place can be home." 

Christina pinches her eyebrows together. 

"Maybe," she says, and I feel like she 
doesn't believe it, but it's nice of her 
to say it anyway. 

"I don't know," Uriah says, and he sounds 
serious now. "I'm not sure anywhere will feel 
like home again. Not even if we went back." 

Maybe that's true. Maybe we're strangers 
no matter where we go, whether it's to the 
world outside the Bureau, or here in the Bur- 
eau, or back in the experiment. Everything 
has changed, and it won't stop changing any- 
time soon. 

Or maybe we'll make a home somewhere 
inside ourselves, to carry with us wherever 
we go— which is the way I carry my mother 

Caleb walks into the dormitory. There's a 
stain on his shirt that looks like sauce, but he 

doesn't seem to notice it— he has the look in 
his eye that I now recognize as intellectual 
fascination, and for a moment I wonder what 
he's been reading, or watching, to make him 
look that way. 

"Hi," he says, and he almost makes a move 
toward me, but he must see my revulsion, 
because he stops in the middle of a step. 

I cover the screen with my palm, though 
he can't see it from across the room, and 
stare at him, unable— or unwilling— to say 
anything in reply. 

"You think you'll ever speak to me again?" 
he says sadly, his mouth turning down at the 

"If she does, I'll die of shock," 
Christina says coldly. 

I look away. The truth is, sometimes I 
want to just forget about everything that's 
happened and return to the way we were be- 
fore either of us chose a faction. Even if he 
was always correcting me, reminding me to 

be selfless, it was better than this— this feel- 
ing that I need to protect even my mother's 
journal from him, so that he can't poison it 
like he's done to everything else. I get up and 
slip it under my pillow. 

"Come on," Uriah says to me. "Want to go 
with us to get some dessert?" 

"You didn't already have some?" 

"So what if I did?" Uriah rolls his eyes and 
puts his arm across my shoulders, steering 
me toward the door. 

Together the three of us walk toward the 
cafeteria, leaving my brother behind. 

"WASN'T SURE IF you would come," Nita 
says to me. 

When she turns to lead me wherever we're 
going, I see that her loose shirt is low in the 
back, and there's a tattoo on her spine, but I 
can't make out what it is. 

"You get tattoos too, here?" I say. 

"Some people do," she says. "The one on 
my back is of broken glass." She pauses, the 
kind of pause you take when you're deciding 
whether or not to share something personal. 
"I got it because it suggests damage. It's . . . 
sort of a joke." 

There's that word again, "damage," the one 
that's been sinking and surfacing, sinking 
and surfacing in my mind since the genetic 
test. If it's a joke, it's not a funny one even for 
Nita— she spits out the explanation like it 
tastes bitter to her. 

We walk down one of the tiled corridors, 
nearly empty now at the end of a workday, 
and down a flight of stairs. As we descend, 
blue and green and purple and red lights 
dance over the walls, shifting between colors 
with each second. The tunnel at the bottom 
of the stairs is wide and dark, with only the 
strange light to guide us. The floor here is old 
tile, and even through my shoe soles, it feels 
grainy with dirt and dust. 

"This part of the airport was completely re- 
done and expanded when they first moved in 
here," Nita says. "For a while, after the Purity 
War, all the laboratories were underground, 
to keep them safer if they were attacked. 
Now it's just the support staff who goes down 

"Is that who you want me to meet?" 

She nods. "Support staff is more than just 
a job. Almost all of us are GDs— genetically 
damaged, leftovers from the failed city ex- 
periments or the descendants of other 
leftovers or people pulled in from the out- 
side, like Tris's mother, except without her 
genetic advantage. And all of the scientists 
and leaders are GPs— genetically pure, des- 
cendants of people who resisted the genetic 
engineering movement in the first place. 
There are some exceptions, of course, but so 
few I could list them all for you if I wanted 

I am about to ask why the division is so 
strict, but I can figure it out for myself. The 
so-called "GPs" grew up in this community, 
their worlds saturated by experiments and 
observation and learning. The "GDs" grew up 
in the experiments, where they only had to 
learn enough to survive until the next gener- 
ation. The division is based on knowledge, 
based on qualifications— but as I learned 
from the factionless, a system that relies on a 
group of uneducated people to do its dirty 
work without giving them a way to rise is 
hardly fair. 

"I think your girl's right, you know," Nita 
says. "Nothing has changed; now you just 
have a better idea of your own limitations. 
Every human being has limitations, even 

"So there's an upward limit to . . . what? 
My compassion? My conscience?" I say. 
"That's the reassurance you have for me?" 

Nita's eyes study me, carefully, and she 
doesn't respond. 

"This is ridiculous," I say. "Why do you, or 
they, or anyone get to determine my limits?" 

"It's just the way things are, Tobias," Nita 
says. "It's just genetic, nothing more." 

"That's a lie," I say. "It's about more than 
genes, here, and you know it." 

I feel like I need to leave, to turn and run 
back to the dormitory. The anger is boiling 
and churning inside me, filling me with heat, 
and I'm not even sure who it's for. For Nita, 
who has just accepted that she is somehow 
limited, or for whoever told her that? Maybe 
it's for everyone. 

We reach the end of the tunnel, and she 
nudges a heavy wooden door open with her 
shoulder. Beyond it is a bustling, glowing 
world. The room is lit by small, bright bulbs 
on strings, but the strings are so densely 
packed that a web of yellow and white covers 
the ceiling. On one end of the room is a 

wooden counter with glowing bottles behind 
it, and a sea of glasses on top of it. There are 
tables and chairs on the left side of the room, 
and a group of people with musical instru- 
ments on the right side. Music fills the air, 
and the only sounds I recognize— from my 
limited experience with the Amity— are 
plucked guitar strings and drums. 

I feel like I am standing beneath a spot- 
light and everyone is watching me, waiting 
for me to move, speak, something. For a mo- 
ment it's hard to hear anything over the mu- 
sic and the chatter, but after a few seconds I 
get used to it, and I hear Nita when she says, 
"This way! Want a drink?" 

I'm about to answer when someone runs 
into the room. He's short, and the T-shirt he 
wears hangs from his body, two sizes too 
large for him. He gestures for the musicians 
to stop playing, and they do, just long 
enough for him to shout, "It's verdict time!" 

Half the room gets up and rushes toward 
the door. I give Nita a questioning look, and 
she frowns, creating a crease in her forehead. 
"Whose verdict?" I say. 
"Marcus's, no doubt," she replies. 
And I'm running. 

I sprint back down the tunnel, finding the 
open spaces between people and pushing my 
way through if there are none. Nita runs at 
my heels, shouting for me to stop, but I can't 
stop. I am separate from this place and these 
people and my own body, and besides, I have 
always been a good runner. 

I take the stairs three at a time, clutching 
the railing for balance. I don't know what I 
am so eager for— Marcus's conviction? His 
exoneration? Do I hope that Evelyn finds 
him guilty and executes him, or do I hope 
that she spares him? I can't tell. To me each 
outcome feels like it is made of the same sub- 
stance. Everything is either Marcus's evil or 

Marcus's mask, Evelyn's evil or Evelyn's 

I don't have to remember where the con- 
trol room is, because the people in the hall- 
way lead me to it. When I reach it, I push my 
way to the front of the crowd and there they 
are, my parents, shown on half the screens. 
Everyone moves away from me, whispering, 
except Nita, who stands beside me, catching 
her breath. 

Someone turns up the volume, so we can 
all hear their voices. They crackle, distorted 
by the microphones, but I know my father's 
voice; I can hear it shift at all the right times, 
lift in all the right places. I can almost pre- 
dict his words before he says them. 

"You took your time," he says, sneering. 
"Savoring the moment?" 

I stiffen. This is not Marcus's mask. This is 
not the person who the city knows as my 
father— the patient, calm leader of Abnega- 
tion who would never hurt anyone, least of 

all his own son or wife. This is the man who 
slid his belt out loop by loop and wrapped it 
around his knuckles. This is the Marcus I 
know best, and the sight of him, like the 
sight of him in my fear landscape, turns me 
into a child. 

"Of course not, Marcus," my mother says. 
"You have served this city well for many 
years. This is not a decision I or any of my 
advisers have taken lightly." 

Marcus is not wearing his mask, but 
Evelyn is wearing hers. She sounds so genu- 
ine she almost convinces me. 

"I and the former representatives of the 
factions have had a lot to consider. Your 
years of service, the loyalty you have inspired 
among your faction members, my lingering 
feelings for you as my former husband ..." 

I snort. 

"I am still your husband," Marcus says. 
"The Abnegation do not allow divorce." 

"They do in cases of spousal abuse," 
Evelyn replies, and I feel that same old feel- 
ing again, the hollowness and the weight. I 
can't believe she just admitted that in public. 

But then, she now wants the people in the 
city to see her a certain way— not as the 
heartless woman who took control of their 
lives, but as the woman Marcus attacked 
with his might, the secret he hid behind a 
clean house and pressed gray clothing. 

I know, then, what the outcome of this will 

"She's going to kill him," I say. 

"The fact remains," says Evelyn, almost 
sweetly, "that you have committed egregious 
crimes against this city. You deceived inno- 
cent children into risking their lives for your 
purposes. Your refusal to follow the orders of 
myself and Tori Wu, the former leader of 
Dauntless, resulted in countless deaths in the 
Erudite attack. You betrayed your peers by 
failing to do as we agreed and by failing to 

fight against Jeanine Matthews. You be- 
trayed your own faction by revealing what 
was supposed to be a guarded secret." 
"I did not-" 

"I am not finished," Evelyn says. "Given 
your record of service to this city, we have 
decided on an alternate solution. You will 
not, unlike the other former faction repres- 
entatives, be forgiven and allowed to consult 
on issues regarding this city. Nor will you be 
executed as a traitor. Instead, you will be 
sent outside the fence, beyond the Amity 
compound, and you will not be allowed to 

Marcus looks surprised. I don't blame him. 

"Congratulations," says Evelyn. "You have 
the privilege of beginning again." 

Should I feel relieved, that my father isn't 
going to be executed? Angry, that I came so 
close to finally escaping him, but instead 
he'll still be in this world, still hanging over 
my head? 

I don't know. I don't feel anything. My 
hands go numb, so I know I'm panicking, but 
I don't really feel it, not the way I normally 
do. I am overwhelmed with the need to be 
somewhere else, so I turn and leave my par- 
ents and Nita and the city where I once lived 
behind me. 


THEY ANNOUNCE THE attack drill in 
the morning, over the intercom, as we eat 
breakfast. The crisp, female voice instructs 
us to lock the door to whatever room we are 
in from the inside, cover the windows, and 
sit quietly until the alarms no longer sound. 
"It will take place at the top of the hour," she 
says. Tobias looks worn and pale, with 
dark circles under his eyes. He picks at a 
muffin, pinching small pieces off and some- 
times eating them, sometimes forgetting to. 

Most of us woke up late, at ten, I suspect 
because there was no reason not to. When 

we left the city, we lost our factions, our 
sense of purpose. Here there is nothing to do 
but wait for something to happen, and far 
from making me feel relaxed, it makes me 
feel jittery and tense. I am used to having 
something to do, something to fight, all the 
time. I try to remind myself to relax. 

"They took us up in a plane yesterday," I 
say to Tobias. "Where were you?" 

"I just had to walk around. Process 
things." He sounds terse, irritated. "How was 

"Amazing, actually." I sit across from him 
so that our knees touch in the space between 
our beds. "The world is ... a lot bigger than I 
thought it was." 

He nods. "I probably wouldn't have en- 
joyed it. Heights, and all." 

I don't know why, but his reaction disap- 
points me. I want him to say that he wishes 
he had been there with me, to experience it 
with me. Or at least to ask me what I mean 

when I say that it was amazing. But all he 
can say is that he wouldn't have liked it? 

"Are you all right?" I say. "You look like 
you barely slept." 

"Well, yesterday carried quite the revela- 
tion," he says, putting his forehead into his 
hand. "You can't really blame me for being 
upset about it." 

"I mean, you can be upset about whatever 
you want," I say, frowning. "But from my 
perspective, it doesn't seem like there's much 
to be upset about. I know it's a shock, but as 
I said, you're still the same person you were 
yesterday and the day before, no matter what 
these people say about it." 

He shakes his head. "I'm not talking about 
my genes. I'm talking about Marcus. You 
really have no idea, do you?" The question is 
accusatory, but his tone isn't. He gets up to 
toss his muffin 
in the trash. 

I feel raw and frustrated. Of course I knew 
about Marcus. It was buzzing around the 
room when I woke up. But for some reason I 
didn't think it would upset him to know his 
father wasn't going to be executed. Appar- 
ently I was wrong. 

It doesn't help that the alarms sound at 
that exact moment, preventing me from say- 
ing anything else to him. They are loud, 
screeching, so painful to listen to that I can 
barely think, let alone move. I keep one hand 
clamped over my ear and slide my other 
hand under my pillow to pick up the screen 
with my mother's journal on it. 

Tobias locks the door and draws the cur- 
tains closed, and everyone sits on their cots. 
Cara wraps a pillow around her head. Peter 
just sits with his back against the wall, his 
eyes closed. I don't know where Caleb is— re- 
searching whatever made him so distant yes- 
terday, probably— or where Christina and 
Uriah are— exploring the compound, maybe. 

Yesterday after dessert they seemed determ- 
ined to discover every corner of the place. I 
decided to discover my mother's thoughts 
about it instead— she wrote several entries 
about her first impressions of the compound, 
the strange cleanliness of the place, how 
everyone smiled all the time, how she fell in 
love with the city by watching it in the con- 
trol room. 

I turn on the screen, hoping to distract my- 
self from the noise. 

Today I volunteered to go inside the city. 
David said the Divergent are dying and 
someone has to stop it, because that's a 
waste of our best genetic material. I think 
that's a pretty sick way to put it, but David 
doesn't mean it that way— he just means that 
if it wasn't the Divergent dying, we wouldn't 
intervene until a certain level of destruction, 
but since it's them it has to be taken care of 

Just a few years, he said. All I have here 
are a few friends, no family, and I'm young 
enough that it will be easy to insert me— just 
wipe and resupply a few people's memories, 
and I'm in. They'll put me in Dauntless, at 
first, because I already have tattoos, and that 
would be hard to explain to the people inside 
the experiment. The only problem is that at 
my Choosing Ceremony next year I'll have to 
join Erudite, because that's where the killer 
is, and I'm not sure I'm smart enough to 
make it through initiation. David says it 
doesn't matter, he can alter my results, but 
that feels wrong. Even if the Bureau thinks 
the factions don't mean anything, that 
they're just a kind of behavioral modification 
that will help with the damage, those people 
believe they do, and it feels wrong to play 
with their system. 

I've been watching them for a couple years 
now, so there's not much I need to know 
about fitting in. I bet I know the city better 

than they do, at this point. It's going to be 
difficult to send my updates— someone might 
notice that I'm connecting to a distant server 
instead of an intracity server, so my entries 
will probably come less often, if at all. It will 
be hard to separate myself from everything I 
know, but maybe it will be good. Maybe it 
will be a fresh start. 

I could really use one of those. 

It's a lot to take in, but I find myself re- 
reading the sentence: The only problem is 
that at my Choosing Ceremony next year I'll 
have to join Erudite, because that's where 
the killer is. I don't know what killer she's re- 
ferring to— Jeanine Matthews's predecessor, 
maybe?— but more confusing even than that 
is that she didn't join Erudite. 

What happened to make her join 
Abnegation instead? 

The alarms stop, and my ears feel muffled 
in their absence. The others trickle out 
slowly, but Tobias lingers for a moment, 

tapping his fingers against his leg. I don't 
speak to him— I'm not sure I want to hear 
what he has to say right now, when we're 
both on edge. 

But all he says is, "Can I kiss you?" 

"Yes," I say, relieved. 

He bends down and touches my cheek, 
then kisses me softly. 

Well, he knows how to improve my mood, 
at least. 

"I didn't think about Marcus. I should 
have," I say. 

He shrugs. "It's over now." 

I know it's not over. It's never over 
with Marcus; the wrongs he committed are 
too great. But I don't press the issue. 

"More journal entries?" he says. 

"Yes," I say. "Just some memories of the 
compound so far. But it's getting 

"Good," he says. "I'll leave you with it." 

He smiles a little, but I can tell he's still 
tired, still upset. I don't try to stop him from 
going. In a way, it feels like we are leaving 
each other to our grief, his over the loss of 
his Divergence and whatever hopes he had 
for Marcus's trial, and mine, finally, over the 
loss of my parents. 

I tap the screen to read the next entry. 
Dear David, 

I raise my eyebrows. Now she's writing to 
Dear David, 

I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen the 
way we planned it. I can't do it. I know you're 
just going to think I'm being a stupid teen- 
ager, but this is my life and if I'm going to be 
here for years, I have to do this my way. I'll 
still be able to do my job from outside of 
Erudite. So tomorrow, at the Choosing Cere- 
mony, Andrew and I are going to choose Ab- 
negation together. 

I hope you're not angry. I guess even if you 
are, I won't hear about it. 

I read the entry again, and again, letting 
the words sink in. Andrew and I are going to 
choose Abnegation together. 

I smile into my hand, lean my head against 
the window, and let the tears fall in silence. 

My parents did love each other. Enough to 
forsake plans and factions. Enough to defy 
"faction before blood." Blood before fac- 
tion—no, love before faction, always. 

I turn off the screen. I don't want to read 
anything that will spoil this feeling: that I am 
adrift in calm waters. 

It's strange how, even though I should be 
grieving, I feel like I am actually getting back 
pieces of her, word by word, line by line. 

THERE ARE ONLY a dozen more entries in 
the file, and they don't tell me everything I 

want to know, though they do give me more 
questions. And instead of just containing her 
thoughts and impressions, they are all writ- 
ten to someone. 
Dear David, 

I thought you were more my 

friend than my supervisor, but I guess I was 


What did you think would happen when I 
came in here, that I would live single and 
alone forever? That I wouldn't get attached 
to anyone? That I wouldn't make any of my 
own choices? 

I left everything behind to come in here 
when no one else wanted to. You should be 
thanking me instead of accusing me of losing 
sight of my mission. Let's get this straight: 
I'm not going to forget why I'm here just be- 
cause I chose Abnegation and I'm going to 
get married. I deserve to have a life of my 
own. One that I choose, not one that you and 
the Bureau choose for me. You should know 

all about that— you should understand why 
this life would appeal to me after all I've seen 
and been through. 

Honestly, I don't really think you care that 
I didn't choose Erudite like I was supposed 
to. It sounds like you're actually just jealous. 
And if you want me to keep updating you, 
you'll apologize for doubting me. But if you 
don't, I won't send you any more updates, 
and I certainly won't leave the city to visit 
anymore. It's up to you. 

I wonder if she was right about David. The 
thought itches at my mind. Was he really 
jealous of my father? Did his jealousy fade 
over time? I can only see their relationship 
from her eyes, and I'm not sure she's the 
most accurate source of information about it. 

I can tell she's getting older in the entries, 
her language becoming more refined as time 
separates her from the fringe where she once 

lived, her reactions becoming more moder- 
ate. She's growing up. 

I check the date on the next entry. It's a 
few months later, but it's not addressed to 
David the way some of the others have been. 
The tone is different too— not as familiar, 
more straightforward. 

I tap the screen, flipping through the 
entries. It takes me ten taps to reach an entry 
that is addressed to David again. The date on 
the entry suggests that it came a full two 
years later. 
Dear David, 

I got your letter. I understand why you 
can't be on the receiving end of these up- 
dates anymore, and I'll respect your decision, 
but I'll miss you. 

I wish you every happiness. 


I try to flip forward, but the journal entries 
are over. The last document in the file is a 
certificate of death. The cause of death says 

multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. I rock 
back and forth a little, to dispel the image of 
her collapsing in the street from my mind. I 
don't want to think about her death. I want 
to know more about her and my father, and 
her and David. Anything to distract me from 
the way her life ended. 

It's a sign of how desperate I am for in- 
formation—and action— that I go to the con- 
trol room with Zoe later that morning. She 
talks to the manager of the control room 
about a meeting with David as I stare, de- 
termined, at my feet, not wanting to see 
what's on the screens. I feel like if I allow 
myself to look at them, even for a moment, I 
will become addicted to them, lost in the old 
world because I don't know how to navigate 
this new one. 

As Zoe finishes her conversation, though, I 
can't keep my curiosity in check. I look at the 
large screen hanging over the desks. Evelyn 
is sitting on her bed, running her hands over 

something on her bedside table. I move 
closer to see what it is, and the woman at the 
desk in front of me says, "This is the Evelyn 
cam. We track her 24-7." 

"Can you hear her?" 

"Only if we turn the volume up," the 
woman replies. "We mostly keep the sound 
off, though. Hard to listen to that much chat- 
ter all day." 

I nod. "What is that she's touching?" 

"Some kind of sculpture, I don't know." 
The woman shrugs. "She stares at it a lot, 

I recognize it from somewhere— from 
Tobias's room, where I slept after my almost- 
execution in Erudite headquarters. It's made 
of blue glass, an abstract shape that looks 
like falling water frozen in time. 

I touch my fingertips to my chin as I 
search my memory. He told me that Evelyn 
gave it to him when he was young, and in- 
structed him to hide it from his father, who 

wouldn't approve of a useless-but-beautiful 
object, Abnegation that he was. I didn't think 
much of it at the time, but it must mean 
something to her, if she carried it all the way 
from the Abnegation sector to Erudite 
headquarters to keep on her bedside table. 
Maybe it was her way of rebelling against the 
faction system. 

On the screen, Evelyn balances her chin on 
her hand and stares at the sculpture for a 
moment. Then she gets up and shakes out 
her hands and leaves the room. 

No, I don't think the sculpture is a sign of 
rebellion. I think it's just a reminder of Tobi- 
as. Somehow I never realized that when To- 
bias charged out of the city with me, he 
wasn't just a rebel defying his leader— he was 
a son abandoning his mother. And she is 
grieving over it. 

Is he? 

Fraught with difficulty as their relation- 
ship has been, those ties never really break. 
They can't possibly. 

Zoe touches my shoulder. "You wanted to 
ask me something?" 

I nod and turn away from the screens. Zoe 
was young in the photograph where she 
stood next to my mother, but she was still 
there, so I figure she must know something. I 
would have asked David, but as the leader of 
the Bureau, he is difficult to find. 

"I wanted to know about my parents," I 
say. "I'm reading her journal, and I guess I'm 
having a hard time figuring out how they 
even met, or why they joined Abnegation 

Zoe nods slowly. "I'll tell you what I know. 
Mind walking with me to the labs? I need to 
leave a message with Matthew." 

She holds her hands behind her back, rest- 
ing them at the bottom of her spine. I am 
still holding the screen David gave me. It's 

marked all over with my fingerprints, and 
warm from my constant touch. I understand 
why Evelyn keeps touching that sculp- 
ture—it's the last piece of her son she has, 
just like this is the last piece of my mother 
that I have. I feel closer to her when it's with 

I think that's why I can't give it to Caleb, 
even though he has a right to see it. I'm not 
sure I can let go of it yet. 

"They met in a class," Zoe says. "Your fath- 
er, though a very smart man, never quite got 
the knack of psychology, and the teacher— an 
Erudite, unsurprisingly— was very hard on 
him for it. So your mother offered to help 
him after school, and he told his parents he 
was doing some kind of school project. They 
did this for several weeks, and then started 
to meet in secret— I think one of their favor- 
ite places was the fountain south of Millenni- 
um Park. Buckingham Fountain? Right by 


I imagine my mother and father sitting be- 
side a fountain, under the spray of water, 
their feet skimming the concrete bottom. I 
know the fountain Zoe is referring to hasn't 
been operational for a long time, so the 
spraying water was never there, but the pic- 
ture is prettier that way. 

"The Choosing Ceremony was approach- 
ing, and your father was eager to leave 
Erudite because he saw something 

"What? What did he see?" 

"Well, your father was a good friend of 
Jeanine Matthews," says Zoe. "He saw her 
performing an experiment on a factionless 
man in exchange for something— food, or 
clothing, something like that. Anyway, she 
was testing the fear-inducing serum that was 
later incorporated into Dauntless initiation- 
long ago, the fear simulations weren't gener- 
ated by a person's individual fears, you see, 

just general fears like heights or spiders or 
something— and Norton, then the represent- 
ative of Erudite, was there, letting it go on for 
far longer than it should have. The faction- 
less man was never quite right again. And 
that was the last straw for your father." 

She pauses in front of the door to the labs 
to open it with her ID badge. We walk into 
the dingy office where David gave me my 
mother's journal. Matthew is sitting with his 
nose three inches from his computer screen, 
his eyes narrow. He barely registers our 
presence when we walk in. 

I feel overwhelmed by the desire to smile 
and cry at the same time. I sit down in a 
chair next to the empty desk, my hands 
clasped between my knees. My father was a 
difficult man. But he was also a good one. 

"Your father wanted out of Erudite, and 
your mother didn't want in, no matter what 
her mission was— but she still wanted to be 
near Andrew, so they chose Abnegation 

together." She pauses. "This caused a rift 
between your mother and David, as I'm sure 
you saw. He eventually apologized, but said 
he couldn't receive updates from her any- 
more—I don't know why, he wouldn't 
say— and after that her reports were very 
short, very informational. Which is why 
they're not in that journal." 

"But she was still able to carry out her mis- 
sion in Abnegation." 

"Yes. And she was much happier there, I 
think, than she would have been among the 
Erudite," Zoe says. "Of course, Abnegation 
turned out to be no better, in some ways. It 
seems there's no escaping the reach of genet- 
ic damage. Even the Abnegation leadership 
was poisoned by it." 

I frown. "Are you talking about Marcus? 
Because he's Divergent. Genetic damage had 
nothing to do with it." 

"A man surrounded by genetic damage 
cannot help but mimic it with his own 

behavior," Zoe says. "Matthew, David wants 
to set up a meeting with your supervisor to 
discuss one of the serum developments. Last 
time Alan completely forgot about it, so I was 
wondering if you could escort him." 

"Sure," Matthew says without looking 
away from his computer. "I'll get him to give 
me a time." 

"Lovely. Well, I have to go— I hope that 
answered your question, Tris." She smiles at 
me and slips out the door. 

I sit hunched, with my elbows on my 
knees. Marcus was Divergent— genetically 
pure, just like me. But I don't accept that he 
was a bad person because he was surrounded 
by genetically damaged people. So was I. So 
was Uriah. So was my mother. But none of 
us lashed out at our loved ones. 

"Her argument has a few holes in it, 
doesn't it," says Matthew. He's watching me 
from behind his desk, tapping his fingers on 
the arm of his chair. 

"Yeah," I say. 

"Some of the people here want to blame 
genetic damage for everything," he says. "It's 
easier for them to accept than the truth, 
which is that they can't know everything 
about people and why they act the way they 

"Everyone has to blame something for the 
way the world is," I say. "For my father it was 
the Erudite." 

"I probably shouldn't tell you that the 
Erudite were always my favorite, then," Mat- 
thew says, smiling a little. 

"Really?" I straighten. "Why?" 

"I don't know, I guess I agree with them. 
That if everyone would just keep learning 
about the world around them, they would 
have far fewer problems." 

"I've been wary of them my whole life," I 
say, resting my chin on my hand. "My father 
hated the Erudite, so I learned to hate them 
too, and everything they did with their time. 

Only now I'm thinking he was wrong. Or just 
. . . biased." 

"About the Erudite or about learning?" 

I shrug. "Both. So many of the Erudite 
helped me when I didn't ask them to." Will, 
Fernando, Cara— all Erudite, all some of the 
best people I've known, however briefly. 
"They were so focused on making the world a 
better place." I shake my head. "What Jean- 
ine did has nothing to do with a thirst for 
knowledge leading to a thirst for power, like 
my father told me, and everything to do with 
her being terrified of how big the world is 
and how powerless that made her. Maybe it 
was the Dauntless who had it right." 

"There's an old phrase," Matthew says. 
"Knowledge is power. Power to do evil, like 
Jeanine ... or power to do good, like what 
we're doing. Power itself is not evil. So know- 
ledge itself is not evil." 

"I guess I grew up suspicious of both. 
Power and knowledge," I say. "To the 

Abnegation, power should only be given to 
people who don't want it." 

"There's something to that," Matthew says. 
"But maybe it's time to grow out of that 

He reaches under the desk and takes out a 
book. It is thick, with a worn cover and 
frayed edges. On it is printed 

"It's a little rudimentary, but this book 
helped to teach me what it is to be human," 
he says. "To be such a complicated, mysteri- 
ous piece of biological machinery, and more 
amazing still, to have the capacity to analyze 
that machinery! That is a special thing, un- 
precedented in all of evolutionary history. 
Our ability to know about ourselves and the 
world is what makes us human." 

He hands me the book and turns back to 
the computer. I look down at the worn cover 
and run my fingers along the edge of the 
pages. He makes the acquisition of 

knowledge feel like a secret, beautiful thing, 
and an ancient thing. I feel like, if I read this 
book, I can reach backward through all the 
generations of humanity to the very first one, 
whenever it was— that I can participate in 
something many times larger and older than 

"Thank you," I say, and it's not for the 
book. It's for giving something back to me, 
something I lost before I was able to really 
have it. 

The lobby of the hotel smells like candied 
lemon and bleach, an acrid combination that 
burns my nostrils when I breathe it in. I walk 
past a potted plant with a garish flower blos- 
soming among its branches, and toward the 
dormitory that has become our temporary 
home here. As I walk I wipe the screen with 
the hem of my shirt, trying to get rid of some 
of my fingerprints. 

Caleb is alone in the dormitory, his hair 
tousled and his eyes red from sleep. He 

blinks at me when I walk in and toss the bio- 
logy book onto my bed. I feel a sickening 
ache in my stomach and press the screen 
with our mother's file against my side. He's 
her son. He has a right to read her journal, 
just like you. 

"If you have something to say," he says, 
"just say it." 

"Mom lived here." I blurt it out like a long- 
held secret, too loud and too fast. "She came 
from the fringe, and they brought her here, 
and she lived here for a couple years, then 
went into the city to stop the Erudite from 
killing the Divergent." 

Caleb blinks at me. Before I lose my nerve, 
I hold out the screen for him to take. "Her 
file is here. It's not very long, but you should 
read it." 

He gets up and closes his hand around the 
glass. He's so much taller than he used to be, 
so much taller than I am. For a few years 
when we were children, I was the taller one, 

even though I was almost a year younger. 
Those were some of our best years, the ones 
where I didn't feel like he was bigger or bet- 
ter or smarter or more selfless than I was. 

"How long have you known this?" he says, 
narrowing his eyes. 

"It doesn't matter." I step back. "I'm telling 
you now. You can keep that, by the way. I'm 
done with it." 

He wipes the screen with his sleeve and 
navigates with deft fingers to our mother's 
first journal entry. I expect him to sit down 
and read it, thus ending the conversation, 
but instead he sighs. 

"I have something to show you, too," he 
says. "About Edith Prior. Come on." 

It's her name, not my lingering attachment 
to him, that draws me after him when he 
starts to walk away. 

He leads me out of the dormitory and 
down the hallway and around corners to a 
room far away from any that I have seen in 

the Bureau compound. It is long and narrow, 
the walls covered with shelves that bear 
identical blue-gray books, thick and heavy as 
dictionaries. Between the first two rows is a 
long wooden table with chairs tucked be- 
neath it. Caleb flips the light switch, and pale 
light fills the room, reminding me of Erudite 

"I've been spending a lot of time here," he 
says. "It's the record room. They keep some 
of the Chicago experiment data in here." 

He walks along the shelves on the right 
side of the room, running his fingers over the 
book spines. He pulls out one of the volumes 
and lays it flat on the table, so it spills open, 
its pages covered in text and pictures. 

"Why don't they keep all this on 

"I assume they kept these records before 
they developed a sophisticated security sys- 
tem on their network," he says without look- 
ing up. "Data never fully disappears, but 

paper can be destroyed forever, so you can 
actually get rid of it if you don't want the 
wrong people to get their hands on it. It's 
safer, sometimes, to have everything printed 

His green eyes shift back and forth as he 
searches for the right place, his fingers 
nimble, built for turning pages. I think of 
how he disguised that part of himself, 
wedging books between his headboard and 
the wall in our Abnegation house, until he 
dropped his blood in the Erudite water on 
the day of our Choosing Ceremony. I should 
have known, then, that he was a liar, with 
loyalty only to himself. 

I feel that sickening ache again. I can 
hardly stand to be in here with him, the door 
closing us in, nothing but the table between 

"Ah, here." He touches his finger to a page, 
then spins the book around to show me. 

It looks like a copy of a contract, but it's 
handwritten in ink: 

I, Amanda Marie Ritter, of Peoria, Illinois, 
give my consent to the following procedures: 

• The "genetic healing" procedure, as defined 
by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare: "a genetic 
engineering procedure designed to correct 
the genes specified as 'damaged' on page 
three of this form." 

• The "reset procedure," as defined by the 
Bureau of Genetic Welfare: "a memory-eras- 
ing procedure designed to make an experi- 
ment participant more 

fit for the experiment." 

I declare that I have been thoroughly in- 
structed as to the risks and benefits of these 
procedures by a member of the Bureau of 
Genetic Welfare. I understand that this 
means I will be given a new background and 
a new identity by the Bureau and inserted in- 
to the experiment in Chicago, Illinois, where 
I will live out the remainder of my days. 

I agree to reproduce at least twice to give 
my corrected genes the best possible chance 
of survival. I understand that I will be en- 
couraged to do this when I am reeducated 
after the reset procedure. 

I also give my consent for my children and 
my children's children, etc., to continue in 
this experiment until such time as the Bur- 
eau of Genetic Welfare deems it to be com- 
plete. They will be instructed in the false his- 
tory that I myself will be given after the reset 


Amanda Marie Ritter 

Amanda Marie Ritter. She was the woman 
in the video, Edith Prior, my ancestor. 

I look up at Caleb, whose eyes are alight 
with knowledge, like there's a live wire run- 
ning through each of them. 

Our ancestor. 

I pull out one of the chairs and sit. "She 
was Dad's ancestor?" 

He nods and sits down across from me. 
"Seven generations back, yes. An aunt. Her 
brother is the one who carried on the Prior 

"And this is . . ." 

"It's a consent form," he says. "Her con- 
sent form for joining the experiment. The 
endnotes say that this was just a first 
draft— she was one of the original experi- 
ment designers. A member of the Bureau. 
There were only a few Bureau members in 
the original experiment; most of the people 
in the experiment weren't working for the 

I read the words again, trying to make 
sense of them. When I saw her in the video, 
it seemed so logical that she would become a 
resident of our city, that she would immerse 
herself in our factions, that she would volun- 
teer to leave behind everything she left be- 
hind. But that was before I knew what life 
was like outside the city, and it doesn't seem 

as horrific as what Edith described in her 
message to us. 

She delivered a skillful manipulation in 
that video, which was intended to keep us 
contained and dedicated to the vision of the 
Bureau— the world outside the city is badly 
broken, and the Divergent need to come out 
here and heal it. It's not quite a lie, because 
the people in the Bureau do believe that 
healed genes will fix certain things, that if we 
integrate into the general population and 
pass our genes on, the world will be a better 
place. But they didn't need the Divergent to 
march out of our city like an army to fight in- 
justice and save everyone, as Edith sugges- 
ted. I wonder if Edith Prior believed her own 
words, or if she just said them because she 
had to. 

There's a photograph of her on the next 
page, her mouth in a firm line, wisps of 
brown hair hanging around her face. She 
must have seen something terrible, to 

volunteer for her memory to be erased and 
her entire life remade. 

"Do you know why she joined?" I say. 

Caleb shakes his head. "The records sug- 
gest—though they're fairly vague on this 
front— that people joined the experiment so 
their families could escape extreme 
poverty— the families of the subjects were 
offered a monthly stipend for the subject's 
participation, for upward of ten years. But 
obviously that wasn't Edith's motivation, 
since she worked for the Bureau. I suspect 
something traumatic must have happened to 
her, something she was determined to 

I frown at her photograph. I can't imagine 
what kind of poverty would motivate a per- 
son to forget themselves and everyone they 
loved so their families could get a monthly 
stipend. I may have lived on Abnegation 
bread and vegetables for most of my life, 
with nothing to spare, but I was never that 

desperate. Their situation must have been 
much worse than anything I saw in the city. 

I can't imagine why Edith was that desper- 
ate either. Or maybe it's just that she didn't 
have anyone to keep her memory for. 

"I was interested in the legal precedent for 
giving consent on behalf of one's descend- 
ants," Caleb says. "I think it's an extrapola- 
tion of giving consent for one's children un- 
der eighteen, but it seems a little odd." 

"I guess we all decide our children's fates 
just by making our own life decisions," I say 
vaguely. "Would we have chosen the same 
factions we did if Mom and Dad hadn't 
chosen Abnegation?" I shrug. "I don't know. 
Maybe we wouldn't have felt as stifled. 
Maybe we would have become different 

The thought creeps into my mind like a 
slithering creature— Maybe we would have 
become better people. People who don't be- 
tray their own sisters. 

I stare at the table in front of me. For the 
past few minutes it was easy to pretend that 
Caleb and I were just brother and sister 
again. But a person can only keep real- 
ity—and anger— at bay for so long before the 
truth comes back again. As I raise my eyes to 
his, I think of looking at him in just this way, 
when I was still a prisoner in Erudite 
headquarters. I think of being too tired to 
fight with him anymore, or to hear his ex- 
cuses; too tired to care that my brother had 
abandoned me. 

I ask tersely, "Edith joined Erudite, didn't 
she? Even though she took an Abnegation 

"Yes!" He doesn't seem to notice my tone. 
"In fact, most of our ancestors were in 
Erudite. There were a few Abnegation out- 
liers, and one or two Candor, but the through 
line is fairly consistent." 

I feel cold, like I might shiver and then 

"So I suppose you've used this as an excuse 
in your twisted mind for what you did," I say 
steadily. "For joining Erudite, for being loyal 
to them. I mean, if you were supposed to be 
one of them all along, then 'faction before 
blood' is an acceptable thing to believe, 

"Tris ..." he says, and his eyes plead with 
me for understanding, but I do not under- 
stand. I won't. 

I stand up. "So now I know about Edith 
and you know about our mother. Good. Let's 
just leave it at that, then." 

Sometimes when I look at him I feel the 
ache of sympathy toward him, and some- 
times I feel like I want to wrap my hands 
around his throat. But right now I just want 
to escape, and pretend this never happened. 
I walk out of the records room, and my shoes 
squeak on the tile floor as I run back to the 
hotel. I run until I smell sweet citrus, and 
then I stop. 

Tobias is standing in the hallway outside 
the dormitory. I am breathless, and I can feel 
my heartbeat even in my fingertips; I am 
overwhelmed, teeming with loss and wonder 
and anger and longing. 

"Tris," Tobias says, his brow furrowed with 
concern. "Are you all right?" 

I shake my head, still struggling for air, 
and crush him against the wall with my 
body, my lips finding his. For a moment he 
tries to push me away, but then he must de- 
cide that he doesn't care if I'm all right, 
doesn't care if he's all right, doesn't care. We 
haven't been alone together in days. Weeks. 

His fingers slide into my hair, and I hold 
on to his arms to stay steady as we press to- 
gether like two blades at a stalemate. He is 
stronger than anyone I know, and warmer 
than anyone else realizes; he is a secret that I 
have kept, and will keep, for the rest of my 

He leans down and kisses my throat, 
hard, and his hands smooth over me, secur- 
ing themselves at my waist. I hook my fin- 
gers in his belt loops, my eyes closing. In that 
moment I know exactly what I want; I want 
to peel away all the layers of clothing 
between us, strip away everything that separ- 
ates us, the past and the present and the 

I hear footsteps and laughter at the end of 
the hallway, and we break apart. 
Someone— probably Uriah— whistles, but I 
barely hear it over the pulsing in my ears. 

Tobias's eyes meet mine, and it's like the 
first time I really looked at him during my 
initiation, after my fear simulation; we stare 
too long, too intently. "Shut up," I call out to 
Uriah, without looking away. 

Uriah and Christina walk into the dormit- 
ory, and Tobias and I follow them, like noth- 
ing happened. 



THAT NIGHT WHEN my head hits the pil- 
low, heavy with thoughts, I hear something 
crinkle beneath my cheek. A note under my 

Meet me outside the hotel 
entrance at eleven. I need to 
talk to you. —Nita 

I look at Tris's cot. She's sprawled on her 
back, and there is a piece of hair covering her 
nose and mouth that shifts with each exhale. 
I don't want to wake her, but I feel strange, 
going to meet a girl in the middle of the night 
without telling her about it. Especially now 
that we're trying so hard to be honest with 
each other. 

I check my watch. It's ten to eleven. 

Nita's just a friend. You can tell Tris to- 
morrow. It might be urgent. 

I push the blankets back and shove my feet 
into my shoes— I sleep in my clothes these 

days. I pass Peter's cot, then Uriah's. The top 
of a flask peeks out from beneath Uriah's pil- 
low. I pinch it between my fingers and carry 
it toward the door, where I slide it under the 
pillow on one of the empty cots. I haven't 
been looking after him as well as I promised 
Zeke I would. 

Once I'm in the hallway, I tie my shoes and 
smooth my hair down. I stopped cutting it 
like the Abnegation when I wanted the 
Dauntless to see me as a potential leader, but 
I miss the ritual of the old way, the buzz of 
the clippers and the careful movements of 
my hands, knowing more by touch than by 
sight. When I was young, my father used to 
do it, in the hallway on the top floor of our 
Abnegation house. He was always too care- 
less with the blade, and scraped the back of 
my neck, or nicked my ear. But he never 
complained about having to cut my hair for 
me. That's something, I guess. 

Nita is tapping her foot. This time she 
wears a white short-sleeved shirt, her hair 
pulled back. She smiles, but it doesn't quite 
reach her eyes. 

"You look worried," I say. 

"That's because I am," she answers. "Come 
on, there's a place I've been wanting to show 

She leads me down dim hallways, empty 
except for the occasional janitor. They all 
seem to know Nita— they wave at her, or 
smile. She puts her hands in her pockets, 
guiding her eyes carefully away from mine 
every time we happen 
to look at each other. 

We go through a door without a security 
sensor to keep it locked. The room beyond it 
is a wide circle with a chandelier marking its 
center with dangling glass. The floors are 
polished wood, dark, and the walls, covered 
in sheets of bronze, gleam where the light 

touches them. There are names inscribed on 
the bronze panels, dozens of names. 

Nita stands beneath the glass chandelier 
and holds her arms out, wide, to encompass 
the room in her gesture. 

"These are the Chicago family trees," she 
says. "Your family trees." 

I move closer to one of the walls and read 
through the names, searching for one that 
looks familiar. At the end, I find one: Uriah 
Pedrad and Ezekiel Pedrad. Next to each 
name is a small "DD," and there is a dot next 
to Uriah's name, and it looks freshly carved. 
Marking him as Divergent, probably. 

"Do you know where mine is?" I say. 

She crosses the room and touches one of 
the panels. "The generations are matrilineal. 
That's why Jeanine's records said Tris was 
'second generation'— because her mother 
came from outside the city. I'm not sure how 
Jeanine knew that, but I guess we'll never 
find out." 

I approach the panel that bears my name 
with trepidation, though I'm not sure what I 
have to fear from seeing my name and my 
parents' names carved into bronze. I see a 
vertical line connecting Kristin Johnson to 
Evelyn Johnson, and a horizontal one con- 
necting Evelyn Johnson to Marcus Eaton. 
Below the two names is just one: Tobias 
Eaton. The small letters beside my name are 
"AD," and there's a dot there too, though I 
now know I'm not actually Divergent. 

"The first letter is your faction of origin," 
she says, "and the second is your faction of 
choice. They thought that keeping track of 
the factions would help them trace the path 
of the genes." 

My mother's letters: "EAF." The "F" is for 
"factionless," I assume. 

My father's letters: "AA," with a 

I touch the line connecting me to them, 
and the line connecting Evelyn to her 

parents, and the line connecting them to 
their parents, all the way back through eight 
generations, counting my own. This is a map 
of what I've always known, that I am tied to 
them, bound forever to this empty inherit- 
ance no matter how far I run. 

"While I appreciate you showing me this," 
I say, and I feel sad, and tired, "I'm not sure 
why it had to happen in the middle of the 

"I thought you might want to see it. And I 
had something I wanted to talk to you 

"More reassurance that my limitations 
don't define me?" I shake my head. "No 
thanks, I've had enough of that." 

"No," she says. "But I'm glad you said 

She leans against the panel, covering 
Evelyn's name with her shoulder. I step back, 
not wanting to be so close to her that I can 

see the ring of lighter brown around her 

"That conversation I had with you last 
night, about genetic damage ... it was actu- 
ally a test. I wanted to see how you would re- 
act to what I said about damaged genes, so I 
would know whether I could trust you or 
not," she says. "If you accepted what I said 
about your limitations, the answer would 
have been no." She slides a little closer to 
me, so her shoulder covers Marcus's name 
too. "See, I'm not really on board with being 
classified as 'damaged.'" 

I think of the way she spat out the explana- 
tion of the tattoo of broken glass on her back 
like it was poison. 

My heart starts to beat harder, so I can feel 
my pulse in my throat. Bitterness has re- 
placed the good humor in her voice, and her 
eyes have lost their warmth. I am afraid of 
her, afraid of what she says— and thrilled by 

it too, because it means I don't have to accept 
that I am smaller than I once believed. 

"I take it you aren't on board with it 
either," she says. 
"No. I'm not." 

"There are a lot of secrets in this place," 
she says. "One of them is that, to them, a GD 
is expendable. Another is that some of us are 
not just going to sit back and take it." 

"What do you mean, expendable?" I say. 

"The crimes they have committed against 
people like us are serious," Nita says. "And 
hidden. I can show you evidence, but that 
will have to come later. For now, what I can 
tell you is that we're working against the 
Bureau, for good reasons, and we want you 
with us." 

I narrow my eyes. "Why? What is it 
you want from me, exactly?" 

"Right now I want to offer you an oppor- 
tunity to see what the world is like outside 
the compound." 

"And what you get in return is . . . ?" 

"Your protection," she says. "I'm going to a 
dangerous place, and I can't tell anyone else 
from the Bureau about it. You're an outsider, 
which means it's safer for me to trust you, 
and I know you know how to defend your- 
self. And if you come with me, I'll show you 
that evidence you want to see." 

She touches her heart, lightly, as if swear- 
ing on it. My skepticism is strong, but my 
curiosity is stronger. It's not hard for me to 
believe that the Bureau would do bad things, 
because every government I've ever known 
has done bad things, even the Abnegation ol- 
igarchy, of which my father was the head. 
And even beyond that reasonable suspicion, 
I have brewing inside me the desperate hope 
that I am not damaged, that I am worth 
more than the corrected genes I pass on to 
any children I might have. 

So I decide to go along with this. For now. 

"Fine," I say. 

"First," she says, "before I show you any- 
thing, you have to accept that you won't be 
able to tell anyone— even Tris —about what 
you see. Are you all right with that?" 

"She's trustworthy, you know." I promised 
Tris I wouldn't keep secrets from her any- 
more. I shouldn't get into situations where 
I'll have to do it again. "Why can't I tell her?" 

"I'm not saying she isn't trustworthy. It's 
just that she doesn't have the skill set we 
need, and we don't want to put anyone at 
risk that we don't have to. See, the Bureau 
doesn't want us to organize. If we believe 
we're not 'damaged,' then we're saying that 
everything they're doing— the experiments, 
the genetic alterations, all of it— is a waste of 
time. And no one wants to hear that their 
life's work is a sham." 

I know all about that— it's like finding out 
that the factions are an artificial system, de- 
signed by scientists to keep us under control 
for as long as possible. 

She pulls away from the wall, and then she 
says the only thing she could possibly say to 
make me agree: 

"If you tell her, you would be depriving her 
of the choice I'm giving you now. You would 
force her to become a coconspirator. By 
keeping this from her, you would be protect- 
ing her." 

I run my fingers over my name, carved in- 
to the metal panel, Tobias Eaton. These are 
my genes, this is my mess. I don't want to 
pull Tris into it. 

"All right," I say. "Show me." 
I watch her flashlight beam bob up and 
down with her footsteps. We just retrieved a 
bag from a mop closet down the hall— she 
was ready for this. She leads me deep into 
the underground hallways of the compound, 
past the place where the GDs gather, to a 
corridor where the electricity no longer 
flows. At a certain place she crouches and 
slides her hand along the ground until her 

fingers reach a latch. She hands me the flash- 
light and pulls back the latch, lifting a door 
from the tile. 

"It's an escape tunnel," she says. "They dug 
it when they first came here, so there would 
always be a way to escape during an 

From her bag she takes a black tube and 
twists off the top. It sprays sparks of light 
that glow red against her skin. She releases it 
over the doorway and it falls several feet, 
leaving a streak of light on my eyelids. She 
sits on the edge of the hole, her backpack se- 
cure around her shoulders, and drops. 

I know it's just a short way down, but it 
feels like more with the space open beneath 
me. I sit, the silhouette of my shoes dark 
against the red sparks, and push myself 

"Interesting," Nita says when I land. I lift 
up the flashlight, and she holds the flare out 
in front of her as we walk down the tunnel, 

which is just wide enough for the two of us to 
walk side by side, and just tall enough for me 
to straighten up. It smells rich and rotten, 
like mold and dead air. "I forgot you were 
afraid of heights." 

"Well, I'm not afraid of much else," I say. 

"No need to get defensive!" She smiles. "I 
actually have always wanted to ask you about 

I step over a puddle, the soles of my shoes 
gripping the gritty tunnel floor. 

"Your third fear," she says. "Shooting that 
woman. Who was she?" 

The flare goes out, so the flashlight I'm 
holding is our only guide through the tunnel. 
I shift my arm to create more space between 
us, not wanting to skim her arm in the dark. 

"She wasn't anyone in particular," I say. 
"The fear was shooting her." 

"You were afraid of shooting people?" 

"No," I say. "I was afraid of my consider- 
able capacity to kill." 

She is silent, and so am I. That's the first 
time I've ever said those words out loud, and 
now I hear how strange they are. How many 
young men fear that there is a monster in- 
side them? People are supposed to fear oth- 
ers, not themselves. People are supposed to 
aspire to become their fathers, not shudder 
at the thought. 

"I've always wondered what would be in 
my fear landscape." She says it in a hushed 
tone, like a prayer. "Sometimes I feel like 
there is so much to be afraid of, and some- 
times I feel like there is nothing left to fear." 

I nod, though she can't see me, and we 
keep moving, the flashlight beam bouncing, 
our shoes scraping, the moldy air rushing to- 
ward us from whatever is on the other end. 
After twenty minutes of walking, we turn a 
corner and I smell fresh wind, cold enough 
to make me shudder. I turn off the flashlight, 
and the moonlight at the end of the tunnel 
guides us to our exit. 

The tunnel let us out somewhere in the 
wasteland we drove through to get to the 
compound, among the crumbling buildings 
and overgrown trees breaking through the 
pavement. Parked a few feet away is an old 
truck, the back covered in shredded, thread- 
bare canvas. Nita kicks one of the tires to test 
it, then climbs into the driver's seat. The keys 
already dangle from the ignition. 

"Whose truck?" I say when I get into the 
passenger's seat. 

"It belongs to the people we're going to 
meet. I asked them to park it here," she says. 

"And who are they?" 

"Friends of mine." 

I don't know how she finds her way 
through the maze of streets before us, but 
she does, steering the truck around tree roots 
and fallen streetlights, flashing the head- 
lights at animals that scamper at the edge of 
my vision. 

A long-legged creature with a brown, spare 
body picks its way across the street ahead of 
us, almost as tall as the headlights. Nita 
eases on the brakes so she doesn't hit it. Its 
ears twitch, and its dark, round eyes watch 
us with careful curiosity, like a child. 

"Sort of beautiful, aren't they?" she says. 
"Before I came here I'd never seen a deer." 

I nod. It is elegant, but hesitant, halting. 

Nita presses the horn with her fingertips, 
and the deer moves out of the way. We accel- 
erate again, then reach a wide, open road 
suspended across the railroad tracks I once 
walked down to reach the compound. I see 
its lights up ahead, the one bright spot in this 
dark wasteland. 

And we are traveling northeast, away from 


It is a long time before I see electric light 
again. When I do, it is along a narrow, patchy 
street. The bulbs dangle from a cord strung 
along the old streetlights. 

"We stop here." Nita jerks the wheel, 
pulling the truck into an alley between two 
brick buildings. She takes the keys from the 
ignition and looks at me. "Check in the glove 
box. I asked them to give us weapons." 

I open the compartment in front of me. 
Sitting on top of some old wrappers are two 

"How are you with a knife?" she says. 

The Dauntless taught initiates how to 
throw knives even before the changes to ini- 
tiation that Max made before I joined them. I 
never liked it, because it seemed like a way to 
encourage the Dauntless flair for theatrics, 
rather than a useful skill. 

"I'm all right," I say with a smirk. "I never 
thought that skill would actually be worth 
anything, though." 

"I guess the Dauntless are good for 
something after all . . . Four," she says, smil- 
ing a little. She takes the larger of the two 
knives, and I take the smaller one. 

I am tense, turning the handle in my fin- 
gers as we walk down the alley. Above me the 
windows flicker with a different kind of 
light— flames, from candles or lanterns. At 
one point, when I glance up, I see a curtain 
of hair and dark eye sockets staring back at 

"People live here," I say. 

"This is the very edge of the fringe," Nita 
says. "It's about a two-hour drive from Mil- 
waukee, which is a metropolitan area north 
of here. Yeah, people live here. These days 
people don't venture too far away from cities, 
even if they want to live outside the 
government's influence, like the people 

"Why do they want to live outside the 
government's influence?" I know what living 
outside the government is like, by watching 
the factionless. They were always hungry, al- 
ways cold in the winter and hot in the sum- 
mer, always struggling to survive. It's not an 

easy life to choose— you have to have a good 
reason for it. 

"Because they're genetically damaged," 
Nita says, glancing at me. "Genetically dam- 
aged people are technically— legally— equal 
to genetically pure people, but only on paper, 
so to speak. In reality they're poorer, more 
likely to be convicted of crimes, less likely to 
be hired for good jobs . . . you name it, it's a 
problem, and has been since the Purity War, 
over a century ago. For the people who live 
in the fringe, it seemed more appealing to 
opt out of society completely rather than to 
try to correct the problem from within, like I 
intend to do." 

I think of the fragment of glass tattooed on 
her skin. I wonder when she got it— I wonder 
what put that dangerous look in her eyes, 
what put such drama in her speech, what 
made her become a revolutionary. 

"How do you plan on doing that?" 

She sets her jaw and says, "By taking away 
some of the Bureau's power." 

The alley opens up to a wide street. Some 
people prowl along the edges, but others 
walk right in the middle, in lurching groups, 
bottles swinging from their hands. Everyone 
I see is young— not many adults in the 
fringe, I guess. 

I hear shouting up ahead, and glass shat- 
tering on the pavement. A crowd there 
stands in a circle around two punching, kick- 
ing figures. 

I start toward them, but Nita grabs my 
arm and drags me toward one of the 

"Not the time to be a hero," she says. 

We approach the door to the building on 
the corner. A large man stands beside it, 
spinning a knife in his palm. When we walk 
up the steps, he stops the knife and tosses it 
into his other hand, which is gnarled with 

His size, his deftness with the weapon, his 
scarred and dusty appearance— they are all 
supposed to intimidate me. But his eyes are 
like that deer's eyes, large and wary and 

"We're here to see Rafi," she says. "We're 
from the compound." 

"You can go in, but your knives stay here," 
the man says. His voice is higher, lighter 
than I expected. He could be a gentle man, 
maybe, if this were a different kind of place. 
As it is, I see that he isn't gentle, doesn't even 
know what that means. 

Even though I myself have discarded any 
kind of softness as useless, I find myself 
thinking that something important is lost if 
this man has been forced to deny his own 

"Not a chance," Nita says. 

"Nita, is that you?" says a voice from in- 
side. It is expressive, musical. The man to 
whom it belongs is short, with a wide smile. 

He comes to the doorway. "Didn't I tell you 
to just let them in? Come in, come in." 

"Hi, Rafi," she says, her relief obvious. 
"Four, this is Rafi. He's an important man in 
the fringe." 

"Nice to meet you," Rafi says, and he beck- 
ons for us to follow him. 

Inside is a large, open room lit by rows of 
candles and lanterns. There is wooden fur- 
niture strewn everywhere, all the tables 
empty but one. 

A woman sits in the back of the room, and 
Rafi slides into the chair beside her. Though 
they don't look the same— she has red hair 
and a generous frame; his features are dark 
and his body, spare as wire— they have the 
same sort of look, like two stones hewn by 
the same chisel. 

"Weapons on the table," Rafi says. 

This time, Nita obeys, putting her knife on 
the edge of the table right in front of her. She 

sits. I do the same. Across from us, the wo- 
man surrenders a gun. 

"Who's this?" the woman says, jerking her 
head toward me. 

"This is my associate," Nita says. "Four." 

"What kind of a name is 'Four'?" She 
doesn't ask with a sneer, the way people have 
often asked me that question. 

"The kind you get inside the city experi- 
ment," Nita says. "For having only four 

It occurs to me that she might have intro- 
duced me by that name just to have an op- 
portunity to share where I'm from. Does it 
give her some kind of leverage? Does it make 
me more trustworthy to these people? 

"Interesting." The woman taps the table 
with her index finger. "Well, Four, my name 
is Mary." 

"Mary and Rafi lead the Midwest branch of 
a GD rebel group," Nita says. 

"Calling it a 'group' makes us sound like 
old ladies playing cards," Rafi says smoothly. 
"We're more of an uprising. Our reach 
stretches across the country— there's a group 
for every metropolitan area that exists, and 
regional overseers for the Midwest, South, 
and East." 

"Is there a West?" I say. 

"Not anymore," Nita says quietly. "The ter- 
rain was too difficult to navigate and the cit- 
ies too spread out for it to be sensible to live 
there after the war. Now it's wild country." 

"So it's true what they say," Mary says, her 
eyes catching the light like slivers of glass as 
she looks at me. "The people in the city ex- 
periments really don't know what's outside." 

"Of course it's true, why would they?" Nita 

Fatigue, a weight behind my eyes, creeps 
up on me suddenly. I have been a part of too 
many uprisings in my short life. The faction- 
less, and now this GD one, apparently. 

"Not to cut the pleasantries short," Mary 
says, "but we shouldn't spend much time 
here. We can't keep people out for long be- 
fore they come sniffing around." 

"Right," Nita says. She looks at me. "Four, 
can you make sure nothing's happening out- 
side? I need to talk to Mary and Rafi 
privately for a little while." 

If we were alone, I would ask why I can't 
be here when she talks to them, or why she 
bothered to bring me in when I could have 
stood guard outside the whole time. I guess I 
haven't actually agreed to help her yet, and 
she must have wanted them to meet me for 
some reason. So I just get up, taking my 
knife with me, and walk to the door where 
Rafi's guard watches the street. 

The fight across the street has died down. 
A lone figure lies on the pavement. For a mo- 
ment I think it's still moving, but then I real- 
ize that's because someone is rifling through 
its pockets. It's not a figure— it's a body. 

"Dead?" I say, and the word is just an 

"Yep. If you can't defend yourself here, you 
won't last a night." 

"Why do people come here, then?" I frown. 
"Why don't they just go back to the cities?" 

He's quiet for so long that I think he must 
not have heard my question. I watch the thief 
turn the dead person's pockets inside out 
and abandon the body, slipping into one of 
the nearby buildings. Finally, Rafi's guard 

"Here, there's a chance that if you die, 
someone will care. Like Rafi, or one of the 
other leaders," the guard says. "In the cities, 
if you get killed, definitely no one will give a 
damn, not if you're a GD. The worst crime 
I've ever seen a GP get charged with for 
killing a GD was 'manslaughter.' Bullshit." 


"It means the crime is deemed an acci- 
dent," Rafi's smooth, lilting voice says 

behind me. "Or at least not as severe as, say, 
first-degree murder. Officially, of course, 
we're all to be treated the same, yes? But that 
is rarely put into practice." 

He stands beside me, his arms folded. I 
see, when I look at him, a king surveying his 
own kingdom, which he believes is beautiful. 
I look out at the street, at the broken pave- 
ment and the limp body with its turned-out 
pockets and the windows flickering with fire- 
light, and I know the beauty he sees is just 
freedom— freedom to be seen as a whole man 
instead of a damaged one. 

I saw that freedom, once, when Evelyn 
beckoned to me from among the factionless, 
called me out of my faction to become a 
more complete person. But it was a lie. 

"You're from Chicago?" Rafi says to me. 
I nod, still looking at the dark street. 

"And now that you are out? How does the 
world seem to you?" he says. 

"Mostly the same," I say. "People are just 
divided by different things, fighting different 

Nita's footsteps creak on the floorboards 
inside, and when I turn she is standing right 
behind me, her hands buried in her pockets. 

"Thanks for arranging this," Nita says, 
nodding to Rafi. "It's time for us to go." 

We make our way down the street again, 
and when I turn to look at Rafi, he has his 
hand up, waving good-bye. As we walk back 
to the truck, I hear screams again, but this 
time they are the screams of a child. I walk 
past snuffling, whimpering sounds and think 
of when I was younger, crouched in my bed- 
room, wiping my nose on one of my sleeves. 
My mother used to scrub the cuffs with a 
sponge before throwing them in the wash. 
She never said anything about it. 

When I get into the truck, I already feel 
numb to this place and its pain, and I am 
ready to get back to the dream of the 

compound, the warmth and the light and the 
feeling of safety. 

"I'm having trouble understanding why 
this place is preferable to city life," I say. 

"I've only been to a city that wasn't an ex- 
periment once," Nita says. "There's electri- 
city, but it's on a ration system— each family 
only gets so many hours a day. Same with 
water. And there's a lot of crime, which is 
blamed on genetic damage. There are police, 
too, but they can only do so much." 

"So the Bureau compound," I say. "It's eas- 
ily the best place to live, then." 

"In terms of resources, yes," Nita says. 
"But the same social system that exists in the 
cities also exists in the compound; it's just a 
little harder to see." 

I watch the fringe disappear in the rear- 
view mirror, distinct from the abandoned 
buildings around it only by that string of 
electric lights draped over the narrow street. 

We drive past dark houses with boarded- 
up windows, and I try to imagine them clean 
and polished, as they must have been at 
some point in the past. They have fenced-in 
yards that must have once been trim and 
green, windows that must once have glowed 
in the evenings. I imagine that the lives lived 
here were peaceful ones, quiet ones. 

"What did you come out here to talk to 
them about, exactly?" I say. 

"I came out here to solidify our plans," 
Nita says. I notice, in the glow of the dash- 
board light, that there are a few cuts on her 
lower lip, like she has spent too much time 
biting it. "And I wanted them to meet you, to 
put a face on the people inside the faction ex- 
periments. Mary used to be suspicious that 
people like you were actually colluding with 
the government, which of course isn't true. 
Rafi, though ... he was the first person to 
give me proof that the Bureau, the govern- 
ment, was lying to us about our history." 

She pauses after she says it, like that will 
help me to feel the weight of it, but I don't 
need time or silence or space to believe her. I 
have been lied to by my government for my 
entire life. 

"The Bureau talks about this golden age of 
humanity before the genetic manipulations 
in which everyone was genetically pure and 
everything was peaceful," Nita says. "But 
Rafi showed me old photographs of war." 

I wait a beat. "So?" 

"So?" Nita demands, incredulous. "If ge- 
netically pure people caused war and total 
devastation in the past at the same mag- 
nitude that genetically damaged people sup- 
posedly do now, then what's the basis for 
thinking that we need to spend so many re- 
sources and so much time working to correct 
genetic damage? What's the use of the exper- 
iments at all, except to convince the right 
people that the government is doing 

something to make all our lives better, even 
though it's not?" 

The truth changes everything— isn't that 
why Tris was so desperate to get the Edith 
Prior video shown that she allied herself with 
my father to do it? She knew that the truth, 
whatever it was, would change our struggle, 
would shift our priorities forever. And here, 
now, a lie has changed the struggle, a lie has 
shifted priorities forever. Instead of working 
against the poverty or crime that have run 
rampant over this country, these people have 
chosen to work against genetic damage. 

"Why? Why spend so much time and en- 
ergy fighting something that isn't really a 
problem?" I demand, suddenly frustrated. 

"Well, the people fighting it now probably 
fight it because they have been taught that it 
is a problem. That's another thing that Rafi 
showed me— examples of the propaganda the 
government released about genetic damage," 
Nita says. "But initially? I don't know. It's 

probably a dozen things. Prejudice against 
GDs? Control, maybe? Control the genetic- 
ally damaged population by teaching them 
that there's something wrong with them, and 
control the genetically pure population by 
teaching them that they're healed and 
whole? These things don't happen overnight, 
and they don't happen for just one reason." 

I lean the side of my head against the cold 
window and close my eyes. There is too 
much information buzzing in my brain to fo- 
cus on any single part of it, so I give up try- 
ing and let myself drift off. 

By the time we make it back through the 
tunnel and I find my bed, the sun is about to 
rise, and Tris's arm is hanging over the edge 
of her bed again, her fingertips brushing the 

I sit down across from her, for a moment 
watching her sleeping face and thinking of 
what we agreed, that night in Millennium 
Park: no more lies. She promised me, and I 

promised her. And if I don't tell her about 
what I heard and saw tonight, I will be going 
back on that promise. And for what? To pro- 
tect her? For Nita, a girl I barely know? 

I brush her hair away from her face, 
gently, so I don't wake her. 

She doesn't need my protection. She's 
strong enough on her own. 


PETER IS ACROSS the room, gathering a 
stack of books into a pile and shoving them 
into a bag. He bites down on a red pen and 
carries the bag out of the room; I hear the 
books inside it smacking against his leg as he 
walks down the hallway. I wait until I can't 
hear them anymore before I turn to 

"I've been trying not to ask you, but 

I'm giving up," I say. "What's going on with 

you and Uriah?" 

Christina, sprawled across her cot with one 
long leg dangling over the edge, gives me a 

"What? You've been spending a lot of time 
together," I say. "Like a lot." 

It's sunny today, the light glowing through 
the white curtains. I don't know how, but the 
dormitory smells like sleep —like laundry 
and shoes and night sweats and morning cof- 
fee. Some of the beds are made, and some 
still have rumpled sheets bunched up at the 
bottom or the side. Most of us came from 
Dauntless, but I'm struck by how different 
we are anyway. Different habits, different 
temperaments, different 
ways of seeing the world. 

"You may not believe me, but it's not like 
that." Christina props herself up on her el- 
bows. "He's grieving. We're both bored. Also, 
he's Uriah." 

"So? He's good-looking." 

"Good-looking, but he can't have a serious 
conversation to save his life." Christina 
shakes her head. "Don't get me wrong, I like 
to laugh, but I also want a relationship to 
mean something, you know?" 

I nod. I do know— better than most people, 
maybe, because Tobias and I aren't really the 
joking type. 

"Besides," she says, "not every friendship 
turns into a romance. I haven't 
tried to kiss you yet." 
I laugh. "True." 

"Where have you been lately?" Christina 
says. She wiggles her eyebrows. "With Four? 
Doing a little . . . addition? Multiplication?" 

I cover my face with my hands. "That was 
the worst joke I've ever heard." 

"Don't dodge the question." 

"No 'addition' for us," I say. "Not yet, any- 
way. He's been a little preoccupied with the 
whole 'genetic damage' thing." 

"Ah. That thing." She sits up. 

"What do you think about it?" I say. 

"I don't know. I guess it makes me angry." 
She frowns. "No one likes to be told there's 
something wrong with them, especially 
something like their genes, which they can't 

"You think there's really something wrong 
with you?" 

"I guess so. It's like a disease, right? They 
can see it in our genes. That's not really up 
for debate, is it?" 

"I'm not saying your genes aren't differ- 
ent," I say. "I'm just saying that doesn't mean 
one set is damaged and one set isn't. The 
genes for blue eyes and brown eyes are dif- 
ferent too, but are blue eyes 'damaged'? It's 
like they just arbitrarily decided that one 
kind of DNA was bad and the other was 

"Based on the evidence that GD 
behavior was worse," Christina points out. 

"Which could be caused by a lot of things," 
I retort. 

"I don't know why I'm arguing with you 
when I'd really like for you to be right," 
Christina says, laughing. "But don't you 
think a bunch of smart people like these Bur- 
eau scientists could figure out the cause of 
bad behavior?" 

"Sure," I say. "But I think that no matter 
how smart, people usually see what they're 
already looking for, that's all." 

"Maybe you're biased too," she says. "Be- 
cause you have friends— and a boy- 
friend—with this genetic issue." 

"Maybe." I know I'm fumbling for an 
explanation, one I may not really believe, but 
I say it anyway: "I guess I don't see a reason 
to believe in genetic damage. Will it make me 
treat other people better? No. The opposite, 

And besides, I see what it's doing to Tobi- 
as, how it's making him doubt himself, and I 

don't understand how anything good can 
possibly come from it. 

"You don't believe things because they 
make your life better, you believe them be- 
cause they're true," she points out. 

"But"— I speak slowly as I mull that 
over— "isn't looking at the result of a belief a 
good way of evaluating if it's 

"Sounds like a Stiff way of thinking." She 
pauses. "I guess my way is very Candor, 
though. God, we really can't escape factions 
no matter where we go, can we?" 

I shrug. "Maybe it's not so important to es- 
cape them." 

Tobias walks into the dormitory, looking 
pale and exhausted, like he always does these 
days. His hair is pushed up on one side from 
lying on his pillow, and he's still wearing 
what he wore yesterday. He's been sleeping 
in his clothes since we came to the Bureau. 

Christina gets up. "Okay, I'm going to go. 
And leave you two ... to all this space. 
Alone." She gestures at all the empty beds, 
and then winks conspicuously at me as she 
walks out of the dormitory. 

Tobias smiles a little, but not enough to 
make me think he's actually happy. And in- 
stead of sitting next to me, he lingers at the 
foot of my bed, his fingers fumbling over the 
hem of his shirt. 

"There's something I want to talk to you 
about," he says. 

"Okay," I say, and I feel a spike of fear in 
my chest, like a jump on a heart monitor. 

"I want to ask you to promise not to get 
mad," he says, "but ..." 

"But you know I don't make stupid prom- 
ises," I say, my throat tight. 

"Right." He does sit, then, in the curve of 
blankets left unmade on his bed. He avoids 
my eyes. "Nita left a note under my pillow, 
telling me to meet her last night. And I did." 

I straighten, and I can feel an angry heat 
spreading through me as I picture Nita's 
pretty face, Nita's graceful feet, walking to- 
ward my boyfriend. 

"A pretty girl asks you to meet her late at 
night, and you go?" I demand. "And then you 
want me not to get mad about it?" 

"It's not about that with Nita and me. At 
all," he says hastily, finally looking at me. 
"She just wanted to show me something. She 
doesn't believe in genetic damage, like she 
led me to believe. She has a plan to take away 
some of the Bureau's power, to make GDs 
more equal. We went to the fringe." 

He tells me about the underground tunnel 
that leads outside, and the ramshackle town 
in the fringe, and the conversation with Rafi 
and Mary. He explains the war that the gov- 
ernment kept hidden so that no one would 
know that "genetically pure" people are cap- 
able of incredible violence, and the way GDs 

live in the metropolitan areas where the gov- 
ernment still has real power. 

As he speaks, I feel suspicion toward Nita 
building inside me, but I don't know where it 
comes from— the gut instinct I usually trust, 
or my jealousy. When he finishes, he looks at 
me expectantly, and I purse my lips, trying to 

"How do you know she's telling you the 
truth?" I say. 

"I don't," he says. "She promised to show 
me evidence. Tonight." He takes my hand. 
"I'd like you to come." 

"And Nita will be okay with that?" 

"I don't really care." His fingers slide 
between mine. "If she really needs my help, 
she'll have to figure out how to be okay with 

I look at our joined fingers, at the fraying 
cuff of his gray shirt and the worn knee of his 
jeans. I don't want to spend time with Nita 
and Tobias together, knowing that her 

supposed genetic damage gives her 
something in common with him that I will 
never have. But this is important to him, and 
I want to know if there's evidence of the 
Bureau's wrongdoing as much as he does. 

"Okay," I say. "I'll go. But don't for a 
second think that I actually believe she's not 
interested in you for more than your genetic 

"Well," he says. "Don't for a second think 
I'm interested in anyone but you." 

He puts his hand on the back of my neck 
and draws my mouth toward his. 

The kiss and his words both comfort me, 
but my unease doesn't completely disappear. 

TRIS AND I meet Nita in the hotel lobby 
after midnight, among the potted plants with 
their unfurling flowers, a tame wilderness. 
When Nita sees Tris at my side, her face 
tightens like she just tasted something bitter. 

"You promised you wouldn't tell her," she 
says, pointing at me. "What happened to 
protecting her?" 
"I changed my mind," I say. 

Tris laughs, harshly. "That's what you told 
him, that he would be protecting me? That's 
a pretty skillful manipulation. Well done." 

I raise my eyebrows at her. I never thought 
of it as a manipulation, and that scares me a 
little. I can usually rely on myself to see a 
person's ulterior motives, or to invent them 
in my mind, but I was so used to my desire to 
protect Tris, especially after almost losing 
her, that I didn't even think twice. 

Or I was so used to lying instead of telling 
difficult truths that I welcomed the chance to 
deceive her. 

"It wasn't a manipulation, it was the 
truth." Nita doesn't look angry anymore, just 
tired, her hand sliding over her face and then 
smoothing back her hair. She isn't defensive, 
which means she might be telling the truth. 

"You could be arrested just for knowing what 
you know and not reporting it. I thought it 
would be better to avoid that." 

"Well, too late," I say. "Tris is coming. Is 
that a problem?" 

"I would rather have both of you than 
neither of you, and I'm sure that's the im- 
plied ultimatum," Nita says, rolling her eyes. 
"Let's go." 

Tris, Nita, and I walk back through the si- 
lent, still compound to the laboratories 
where Nita works. None of us speaks, and I 
am conscious of every squeak of my shoes, 
every voice in the distance, every snap of 
every closing door. I feel like we're doing 
something forbidden, though technically we 
aren't. Not yet, anyway. 

Nita stops by the door to the laboratories 
and scans her card. We follow her past the 
gene therapy room where I saw a map of my 
genetic code, farther into the heart of the 
compound than I have been yet. It's dark and 

grim back here, and clumps of dust dance 
over the floor when we walk past. 

Nita pushes another door open with her 
shoulder, and we walk into a storage room. 
Dull metal drawers cover the walls, labeled 
with paper numbers, the ink worn off with 
time. In the center of the room is a lab table 
with a computer and a microscope, and a 
young man with slicked-back blond hair. 

"Tobias, Tris, this is my friend Reggie," 
Nita says. "He's also a GD." 

"Nice to meet you," Reggie says with a 
smile. He shakes Tris's hand, then mine, his 
grip firm. 

"Let's show them the slides first," Nita 

Reggie taps the computer screen and beck- 
ons us closer. "Not gonna bite." 

Tris and I exchange a glance, then stand 
behind Reggie at the table to see the screen. 
Pictures start flashing on it, one after anoth- 
er. They're in grayscale and look grainy and 

distorted— they must be very old. It takes me 
only a few seconds to realize that they are 
photographs of suffering: narrow, pinched 
children with huge eyes, ditches full of bod- 
ies, huge mounds of burning papers. 

The photographs move so fast, like book 
pages fluttering in the breeze, that I get only 
impressions of horrors. Then I turn my face 
away, unable to look any longer. I feel a deep 
silence grow inside me. 

At first, when I look at Tris, her expression 
is like still water— like the images we just saw 
caused no ripples. But then her mouth 
quivers, and she presses her lips together to 
disguise it. 

"Look at these weapons." Reggie brings up 
a photograph with a man in uniform holding 
a gun and points. "That kind of gun is in- 
credibly old. The guns used in the Purity War 
were much more advanced. Even the Bureau 
would agree with that. It's gotta be from a 
really old conflict. Which must have been 

waged by genetically pure people, since ge- 
netic manipulation didn't exist back then." 

"How do you hide a war?" I say. 

"People are isolated, starving," Nita says 
quietly. "They know only what they're 
taught, they see only the information that's 
made available to them. And who controls all 
that? The 

"Okay." Tris's head bobs, and she's talking 
too fast, nervous. "So they're lying about 
your— our history. That doesn't mean they're 
the enemy, it just means they're a group of 
grossly misinformed people trying to . . . bet- 
ter the world. In an ill-advised way." 

Nita and Reggie glance at each other. 

"That's the thing," Nita says. "They're 
hurting people." 

She puts her hand on the counter and 
leans into it, leans toward us, and again I see 
the revolutionary building strength inside 
her, taking over the parts of her that are 

young woman and GD and laboratory 

"When the Abnegation wanted to reveal 
the great truth of their world sooner than 
they were supposed to," she says slowly, "and 
Jeanine wanted to stifle them . . . the Bureau 
was all too happy to provide her with an in- 
credibly advanced simulation serum— the at- 
tack simulation that enslaved the minds of 
the Dauntless, that resulted in the destruc- 
tion of Abnegation." 

I take a moment to let that sink in. 

"That can't be true," I say. "Jeanine told 
me that the highest proportion of Diver- 
gent—the genetically pure— in any faction 
was in Abnegation. You just said the Bureau 
values the genetically pure enough to send 
someone in to save them; why would they 
help Jeanine kill them?" 

"Jeanine was wrong," Tris says distantly. 
"Evelyn said so. The highest proportion of 

Divergent was among the factionless, not 
I turn to Nita. 

"I still don't see why they would risk that 
many Divergent," I say. "I need evidence." 

"Why do you think we came here?" Nita 
switches on another set of lights that illu- 
minate the drawers, and paces along the left 
wall. "It took me a long time to get clearance 
to go in here," she says. "Even longer to ac- 
quire the knowledge to understand what I 
saw. I had help from one of the GPs, actually. 
A sympathizer." 

Her hand hovers over one of the low draw- 
ers. From it she takes a vial of orange liquid. 

"Look familiar?" she asks me. 

I try to remember the shot they gave me 
before the attack simulation began, right be- 
fore the final round of Tris's initiation. Max 
did it, inserted the needle into the side of my 
neck as I had done myself dozens of times. 
Right before he did the glass vial caught the 

light, and it was orange, just like whatever 
Nita is holding. 

"The colors match," I say. "So?" 

Nita carries the vial to the microscope. 
Reggie takes a slide from a tray near the 
computer and, using a dropper, puts two 
drops of the orange liquid in its center, then 
seals the liquid in place with a second slide. 
As he places it on the microscope, his fingers 
are careful but certain; they are the move- 
ments of someone who has performed the 
same action hundreds of times. 

Reggie taps the computer screen a few 
times, opening a program called 

"This information is free and available to 
anyone who knows how to use this equip- 
ment and has the system password, which 
the GP sympathizer graciously gave me," 
Nita says. "So in other words, it's not all that 
hard to access, but no one would think to ex- 
amine it very closely. And GDs don't have 

system passwords, so it's not like we would 
have known about it. This storage room is for 
obsolete experiments —failures, or outdated 
developments, or useless things." 

She looks through the microscope, using a 
knob on the side to focus the lens. 

"Go ahead," she says. 

Reggie presses a button on the computer, 
and paragraphs of text appear under the 
"MicroScan" bar at the top of the screen. He 
points to a paragraph in the middle of the 
page, and I read it. 

'"Simulation Serum V4.2. Coordinates a 
large number of targets. Transmits signals 
over long distances. Hallucinogen from ori- 
ginal formula not included— simulated real- 
ity is predetermined by program master.'" 

That's it. 

That's the attack simulation serum. 

"Now why would the Bureau have this un- 
less they had developed it?" Nita says. "They 
were the ones who put the serums into the 

experiments, but they usually left the serums 
alone, let the city residents develop them fur- 
ther. If Jeanine was the one who developed 
it, they wouldn't have stolen it from her. If 
it's here, it's because they made it." 

I stare at the illuminated slide in the mi- 
croscope, at the orange droplet swimming in 
the eyepiece, and release a 
shaky breath. 

Tris says, breathless, "Why?" 

"Abnegation was about to reveal the truth 
to everyone inside the city. And you've seen 
what's happened now that the city knows the 
truth: Evelyn is effectively a dictator, the fac- 
tionless are squashing the faction members, 
and I'm sure the factions will rise up against 
them sooner or later. Many people will die. 
Telling the truth risks the safety of the exper- 
iment, no question," Nita says. "So a few 
months ago, when the Abnegation were on 
the verge of causing that destruction and in- 
stability by revealing Edith Prior's video to 

your city, the Bureau probably thought, bet- 
ter that the Abnegation should suffer a great 
loss— even at the expense of several Diver- 
gent—than the whole city suffer a great loss. 
Better to end the lives of the Abnegation 
than to risk the experiment. So they reached 
out to someone who they knew would agree 
with them. Jeanine Matthews." 

Her words surround me and bury them- 
selves inside me. 

I set my hands on the lab table, letting it 
cool my palms, and look at my distorted re- 
flection in the brushed metal. I may have 
hated my father for most of my life, but I 
never hated his faction. Abnegation's quiet, 
their community, their routine, always 
seemed good to me. And now most of those 
kind, giving people are dead. Murdered, at 
the hands of the Dauntless, at the urging of 
Jeanine, with the power of the Bureau to 
back her. 

Tris's mother and father were among 

Tris stands so still, her hands dangling 
limply, turning red with the flush of her 

"This is the problem with their blind com- 
mitment to these experiments," Nita says 
next to us, as if sliding the words into the 
empty spaces of our minds. "The Bureau val- 
ues the experiments above GD lives. It's ob- 
vious. And now, things could get even 

"Worse?" I say. " Worse than killing most 
of the Abnegation? How?" 

"The government has been threatening to 
shut down the experiments for almost a year 
now," Nita says. "The experiments keep fall- 
ing apart because the communities can't live 
in peace, and David keeps finding ways to re- 
store peace just in the nick of time. And if 
anything else goes wrong in Chicago, he can 

do it again. He can reset all the experiments 
at any time." 
"Reset them," I say. 

"With the Abnegation memory serum," 
Reggie says. "Well, really, it's the Bureau's 
memory serum. Every man, woman, and 
child will have to begin again." 

Nita says tersely, "Their entire lives 
erased, against their will, for the sake of 
solving a genetic damage 'problem' that 
doesn't actually exist. These people have the 
power to do that. And no one should have 
that power." 

I remember the thought I had, after Jo- 
hanna told me about the Amity administer- 
ing the memory serum to Dauntless 
patrols— that when you take a person's 
memories, you change who they are. 

Suddenly I don't care what Nita's plan is, 
as long as it means striking the Bureau as 
hard as we can. What I have learned in the 

past few days has made me feel like there is 
nothing about this place worth salvaging. 

"What's the plan?" says Tris, her voice flat, 
almost mechanical. 

"I'll let my friends from the fringe in 
through the underground tunnel," Nita says. 
"Tobias, you will shut off the security system 
as I do, so that we aren't caught— it's nearly 
the same technology you worked with in the 
Dauntless control room; it should be easy for 
you. Then Rafi, Mary, and I will break into 
the Weapons Lab and steal the memory ser- 
um so the Bureau can't use it. Reggie's been 
helping behind the scenes, but he'll be open- 
ing the tunnel for us on the day of the 

"What will you do with a bunch of memory 
serum?" I say. 

"Destroy it," Nita says, even-keeled. 

I feel strange, empty like a deflated bal- 
loon. I don't know what I had in mind when 
Nita talked about her plan, but it wasn't 

this— this feels so small, so passive as an act 
of retaliation against the people responsible 
for the attack simulation, the people who 
told me that there was something wrong with 
me at my very core, in my genetic code. 

"That's all you intend to do," Tris says, fi- 
nally looking away from the microscope. She 
narrows her eyes at Nita. "You know that the 
Bureau is responsible for the murders of 
hundreds of people, and your plan is to . . . 
take away their memory serum?" 

"I don't remember inviting your critique of 
my plan." 

"I'm not critiquing your plan," Tris says. 
"I'm telling you I don't believe you. You hate 
these people. I can tell by the way you talk 
about them. Whatever you intend to do, I 
think it's far worse than stealing some 

"The memory serum is what they use to 
keep the experiments running. It's their 
greatest source of power over your city, and I 

want to take it away. I'd say that's a hard 
enough blow for now." Nita sounds gentle, 
like she's explaining something to a child. "I 
never said this was all I was ever going to do. 
It's not always wise to strike as hard as you 
can at the first opportunity. This is a long 
race, not a sprint." 

Tris just shakes her head. 

"Tobias, are you in?" Nita says. 

I look from Tris, with her tense, stiff pos- 
ture, to Nita, who is relaxed, ready. I don't 
see whatever Tris sees, or hear it. And when I 
think about saying no, I feel like my body 
will collapse in on itself. I have to do 
something. Even if it feels small, I have to do 
something, and I don't understand why Tris 
doesn't feel the same desperation inside her. 

"Yes," I say. Tris turns to me, her eyes 
wide, incredulous. I ignore her. "I can dis- 
able the security system. I'll need some 
Amity peace serum, do you have access to 

"I do." Nita smiles a little. "I'll send you a 
message with the timing. Come on, Reggie. 
Let's leave these two to . . . talk." 

Reggie nods to me, and then to Tris, and 
then he and Nita both leave the room, easing 
the door closed behind them so it doesn't 
make a sound. 

Tris turns to me, her arms folded like two 
bars across her body, keeping me out. 

"I can't believe you," she said. "She's lying. 
Why can't you see that?" 

"Because it's not there," I say. "I can tell 
when someone's lying just as well as you can. 
And in this situation, I think your judgment 
might be clouded by something else. So- 
mething like jealousy." 

"I am not jealous!" she says, scowling at 
me. "I am being smart. She has something 
bigger planned, and if I were you, I would 
run far away from anyone who lies to me 
about what they want me to participate in." 

"Well, you're not me." I shake my head. 
"God, Tris. These people murdered your par- 
ents, and you're not going to do something 
about it?" 

"I never said I wasn't going to do any- 
thing," she says tersely. "But I don't have to 
buy into the first plan I hear, either." 

"You know, I brought you here because I 
wanted to be honest with you, not so that 
you could make snap judgments about 
people and tell me what to do!" 

"Remember what happened last time you 
didn't trust my 'snap judgments'?" Tris says 
coldly. "You found out that I was right. I was 
right about Edith Prior's video changing 
everything, and I was right about Evelyn, 
and I'm right about this." 

"Yeah. You're always right," I say. "Were 
you right about running into dangerous situ- 
ations without weapons? Were you right 
about lying to me and going on a death 
march to Erudite headquarters in the middle 

of the night? Or about Peter, were you right 



"Don't throw those things in my face." She 
points at me, and I feel like I'm a child get- 
ting lectured by a parent. "I never said I was 
perfect, but you— you can't even see past 
your own desperation. You went along with 
Evelyn because you were desperate for a par- 
ent, and now you're going along with this be- 
cause you're desperate not to be damaged—" 

The word shivers through me. 

"I am not damaged," I say quietly. "I can't 
believe you have so little faith in me that you 
would tell me not to trust myself." I shake 
my head. "And I don't need your 

I start toward the door, and as my hand 
closes around the handle, she says, "Just 
leaving so that you can have the last word, 
that's really mature!" 

"So is being suspicious of someone's 
motives just because she's pretty," I say. "I 
guess we're even." 

I leave the room. 

I am not a desperate, unsteady child who 
throws his trust around. I am not damaged. 


I TOUCH MY forehead to the eyepiece of the 
microscope. The serum swims before me, 

I was so busy looking for Nita's lies that I 
barely registered the truth: In order to get 
their hands on this serum, the Bureau must 
have developed it, and somehow delivered it 
to Jeanine to use. I pull away. Why would 
Jeanine work with the Bureau when she so 
badly wanted to stay in the city, away from 

But I guess the Bureau and Jeanine shared 
a common goal. Both wanted the experiment 
to continue. Both were terrified of what 

would happen if it didn't. Both were willing 
to sacrifice innocent lives to do it. 

I thought this place could be home. But the 
Bureau is full of killers. I rock back on my 
heels as if pushed back by some invisible 
force, then walk out of the room, my heart 
beating fast. 

I ignore the few people dawdling in the 
corridor in front of me. I just push farther in- 
to the Bureau compound, farther and farther 
into the belly of the 

Maybe this place could be home, I hear 
myself saying to Christina. 

These people murdered your parents, 
Tobias's words echo in my head. 

I don't know where I'm going except that I 
need space, and air. I clutch my ID in my 
hand and half walk, half run past the security 
barrier to the sculpture. There is no light 
shining into the tank now, though the water 
still falls from it, one drop for every second 

that passes. I stand for a little while, watch- 
ing it. And then, across the slab of stone, I 
see my brother. 

"Are you all right?" he says 

I am not all right. I was beginning to feel 
that I had finally found a place to stay, a 
place that was not so unstable or corrupt or 
controlling that I could actually belong there. 
You would think that I would have learned 
by now— such a place does not exist. 

"No," I say. 

He starts to move around the stone block, 
toward me. "What is it?" 

"What is it." I laugh. "Let me put it this 
way: I just found out you're not the worst 
person I know." 

I drop into a crouch and push my fingers 
through my hair. I feel numb and terrified of 
my own numbness. The Bureau is respons- 
ible for my parents' deaths. Why do I have to 

keep repeating it to myself to believe it? 
What's wrong with me? 

"Oh," he says. "I'm . . . sorry?" 

All I can manage is a small grunt. 

"You know what Mom told me once?" he 
says, and the way he says Mom, like he didn't 
betray her, sets my teeth on edge. "She said 
that everyone has some evil inside them, and 
the first step to loving anyone is to recognize 
the same evil in ourselves, so we're able to 
forgive them." 

"Is that what you want me to do?" I say 
dully as I stand. "I may have done bad 
things, Caleb, but I would never deliver you 
to your own execution." 

"You can't say that," he says, and it sounds 
like he's pleading with me, begging me to say 
that I am just like him, no better. "You didn't 
know how persuasive Jeanine was—" 

Something inside me snaps like a brittle 
rubber band. 

I punch him in the face. 

All I can think about is how the Erudite 
stripped me of my watch and my shoes and 
led me to the bare table where they would 
take my life. A table that Caleb may as well 
have set up himself. 

I thought I was beyond this kind of anger, 
but as he stumbles back with his hands on 
his face, I pursue him, grabbing the front of 
his shirt and slamming him against the stone 
sculpture and screaming that he is a coward 

and a traitor and that I will kill him, I will kill 

One of the guards comes toward me, and 
all she has to do is put her hand on my arm 
and the spell is broken. I release Caleb's 
shirt. I shake out my stinging hand. I turn 
and walk away. 

There's a beige sweater draped over the 
empty chair in Matthew's lab, the sleeve 
brushing the floor. I've never met his super- 
visor. I'm beginning to suspect that Matthew 
does all the real work. 

I sit on top of the sweater and examine my 
knuckles. A few of them are split from 
punching Caleb, and dotted with faint 
bruises. It seems fitting that the blow would 
leave a mark on both of us. That's how the 
world works. 

Last night, when I went back to the dorm- 
itory, Tobias wasn't there, and I was too 
angry to sleep. In the hours that I lay awake, 
staring at the ceiling, I decided that while I 

wasn't going to participate in Nita's plan, I 
also wasn't going to stop it. The truth about 
the attack simulation brewed hate for the 
Bureau inside me, and I want to watch it 
break apart from within. 

Matthew is talking science. I'm having 
trouble paying attention. 

"—doing some genetic analysis, which is 
fine, but before, we were developing a way to 
make the memory compound behave as a 
virus," he says. "With the same rapid replica- 
tion, the same ability to spread through the 
air. And then we developed a vaccination for 
it. Just a temporary one, only lasts for forty- 
eight hours, but still." 

I nod. "So . . . you were making it so you 
could set up other city experiments more ef- 
ficiently, right?" I say. "No need to inject 
everyone with the memory serum when you 
can just release it and let it spread." 

"Exactly!" He seems excited that I'm actu- 
ally interested in what he's saying. "And it's a 

better model for having the option to select 
particular members of a population to opt 
out— you inoculate them, the virus spreads 
within twentyfour hours, and it has no effect 
on them." 
I nod again. 

"You okay?" Matthew says, his coffee mug 
poised near his mouth. He puts it down. "I 
heard the security guards had to pull you off 
someone last night." 

"It was my brother. Caleb." 

"Ah." Matthew raises an eyebrow. "What 
did he do this time?" 

"Nothing, really." I pinch the sweater 
sleeve between my fingers. Its edges are all 
fraying, wearing with time. "I was wired to 
explode anyway; he just got in the way." 

I already know, by looking at him, the 
question he's asking, and I want to explain it 
all to him, everything that Nita showed me 
and told me. I wonder if I can trust him. 

"I heard something yesterday," I say, test- 
ing the waters. "About the Bureau. About my 
city, and the simulations." 

He straightens up and gives me a strange 

"What?" I say. 

"Did you hear that something from Nita?" 
he says. 

"Yes. How did you know that?" 

"I've helped her a couple times," he says. "I 
let her into that storage room. Did she tell 
you anything else?" 

Matthew is Nita's informant? I stare at 
him. I never thought that Matthew, who 
went out of his way to show me the differ- 
ence between my "pure" genes and Tobias's 
"damaged" genes, might be helping Nita. 

"Something about a plan," I say slowly. 

He gets up and walks toward me, oddly 
tense. I lean away from him by instinct. 

"Is it happening?" he says. "Do you know 

"What's going on?" I say. "Why would you 

"Because all this 'genetic damage' non- 
sense is ridiculous," he says. "It's very im- 
portant that you answer my questions." 

"It is happening. And I don't know when, 
but I think it will be soon." 

"Shit." Matthew puts his hands on his face. 
"Nothing good can come of this." 

"If you don't stop saying cryptic things, I'm 
going to slap you," I say, getting to my feet. 

"I was helping Nita until she told me what 
she and those fringe people wanted to do," 
Matthew says. "They want to get to the 
Weapons Lab and—" 

"—steal the memory serum, yeah, I heard." 

"No." He shakes his head. "No, they don't 
want the memory serum, they want the 
death serum. Similar to the one the Erudite 
have— the one you were supposed to be injec- 
ted with when you were almost executed. 
They're going to use it for assassinations, a 

lot of them. Set off an aerosol can and it's 
easy, see? Give it to the right people and you 
have an explosion of anarchy and violence, 
which is exactly what those fringe people 

I do see. I see the tilt of a vial, the quick 
press of a button on an aerosol can. I see Ab- 
negation bodies and Erudite bodies sprawled 
over streets and staircases. I see the little 
pieces of this world that we've managed to 
cling to bursting into flames. 

"I thought I was helping her with 
something smarter," Matthew says. "If I had 
known I was helping her start another war, I 
wouldn't have done it. We have to do 
something about this." 

"I told him," I say softly, but not to Mat- 
thew, to myself. "I told him she was lying." 

"We may have a problem with the way we 
treat GDs in this country, but it's not going to 
be solved by killing a bunch of people," he 

says. "Now come on, we're going to David's 

I don't know what's right or wrong. I don't 
know anything about this country or the way 
it works or what it needs to change. But I do 
know that a bunch of death serum in the 
hands of Nita and some people from the 
fringe is no better than a bunch of death ser- 
um in the Weapons Lab of the Bureau. So I 
chase Matthew down the hallway outside. 
We walk quickly in the direction of the front 
entrance, where I first entered this 

When we walk past the security check- 
point, I spot Uriah near the sculpture. He 
lifts a hand to wave to me, his mouth pressed 
into a line that could be a smile if he was try- 
ing harder. Above his head, light refracts 
through the water tank, the symbol of the 
compound's slow, pointless struggle. 

I'm just passing the security checkpoint 
when I see the wall next to Uriah explode. 

It is like fire blossoming from a bud. 
Shards of glass and metal spray from the 
center of the bloom, and Uriah's body is 
among them, a limp projectile. A deep 
rumble moves through me like a shudder. 
My mouth is open; I am screaming his name, 
but I can't hear myself over the ringing in my 

Around me, everyone is crouched, their 
arms curled around their heads. But I am on 
my feet, watching the hole in the compound 
wall. No one comes through it. 

Seconds later, everyone around me starts 
running away from the blast, and I hurl my- 
self against them, shoulder first, toward Uri- 
ah. An elbow hits me in the side and I fall 
down, my face scraping something hard and 
metal— the side of a table. I struggle to my 
feet, wiping blood from my eyebrow with a 
sleeve. Fabric slides over my arms, and 
limbs, hair, and wide eyes are all I can see, 

except the sign over their heads that says 

"Signal the alarms!" one of the guards at 
the security checkpoint screams. I duck un- 
der an arm and trip to the side. 

"I did!" another guard shouts. "They aren't 

Matthew grabs my shoulder and yells into 
my ear. "What are you doing? Don't go 

I move faster, finding an empty channel 
where there are no people to obstruct my 
path. Matthew runs after me. 

"We shouldn't be going to the explosion 
site— whoever set it off is already in the 
building," he says. "Weapons Lab, now! 
Come on!" 

The Weapons Lab. Holy words. 

I think of Uriah lying on the tile surroun- 
ded by glass and metal. My body is straining 
toward him, every muscle, but I know there's 
nothing I can do for him right now. The 

more important thing for me to do is to use 
my knowledge of chaos, of attacks, to keep 
Nita and her friends from stealing the death 

Matthew was right. Nothing good can 
come of this. 

Matthew takes the lead, plunging into the 
crowd like it is a pool of water. I try to look 
only at the back of his head, to keep track of 
him, but the oncoming faces distract me, the 
mouths and eyes rigid with terror. I lose him 
for a few seconds and then find him again, 
several yards ahead, turning right at the next 

"Matthew!" I shout, and I push my way 
through another group of people. Finally I 
catch up, grabbing the back of his shirt. He 
turns and grabs my hand. 

"Are you okay?" he says, staring just above 
my eyebrow. In the rush I almost forgot 
about my cut. I press my sleeve to it, and it 
comes away red, but I nod. 

"I'm fine! Let's go!" 

We sprint side by side down the hall- 
way—this one is not as crowded as the oth- 
ers, but I can see that whoever infiltrated the 
building has been here already. There are 
guards lying on the floor, some alive and 
some not. I see a gun on the tile near a drink- 
ing fountain and lurch toward it, breaking 
my grip on Matthew's hand. 

I grab the gun and offer it to Matthew. He 
shakes his head. "I've never fired one." 

"Oh, for God's sake." My finger curls 
around the trigger. It's different from the 
guns we had in the city— it doesn't have a 
barrel that shifts to the side, or the same ten- 
sion in the trigger, or even the same distribu- 
tion of weight. It's easier to hold, as a result, 
because it doesn't spark the same memories. 

Matthew is gasping for air. So am I, only I 
don't notice it the same way, because I've 
done this sprint through chaos so many 
times. The next hallway he guides us to is 

empty except for one fallen soldier. She's not 

"It's not far," he says, and I touch my fin- 
ger to my lips to tell him to be quiet. 

We slow to a walk, and I squeeze the gun, 
my sweat making it slip. I don't know how 
many bullets are in it, or how to check. When 
we pass the soldier, I pause to search her for 
a weapon. I find a gun tucked under her hip, 
where she fell on her own wrist. Matthew 
stares at her, unblinking, as I take her 

"Hey," I say quietly. "Just keep 
moving. Move now, process later." 

I elbow him and lead the way down the 
hallway. Here the hallways are dim, the ceil- 
ings crossed with bars and pipes. I can hear 
people ahead and don't need Matthew's 
whispered directions to find them. 

When we reach the place where we're sup- 
posed to turn, I press against the wall and 

look around the corner, careful to keep my- 
self as hidden as possible. 

There's a set of double-walled glass doors 
that look as heavy as metal doors would be, 
but they're open. Beyond them is a cramped 
hallway, empty except for three people in 
black. They wear heavy clothing and carry 
guns so big I'm not sure I would be able to 
lift one. Their faces are covered with dark 
fabric, disguising all but their eyes. 

On his knees before the double doors is 
David, a gun barrel pressed to his temple, 
blood trailing down his chin. And standing 
among the invaders, wearing the same mask 
as the others, is a girl with a dark ponytail. 



"GET US IN, David," Nita says, her voice 
garbled by the mask. 

David's eyes slide lazily to the side, to the 
man pointing the gun at him. 

"I don't believe you'll shoot me," he says. 
"Because I'm the only one in this building 
who knows this information, and you want 
that serum." 

"Won't shoot you in the head, maybe," the 
man says, "but there are other places." 

The man and Nita exchange a look. Then 
the man shifts the gun down, to David's feet, 
and fires. I squeeze my eyes shut as David's 
screams fill the hallway. He might be one of 
the people who offered Jeanine Matthews 
the attack simulation, but I still don't relish 
his screams of pain. 

I stare at the guns I carry, one in each 
hand, my fingers pale against the black trig- 
gers. I imagine myself trimming back all the 
stray branches of my thoughts, focusing on 
just this place, just this time. 

I put my mouth right next to Matthew's 
ear and mutter, "Go for help. Now." 

Matthew nods and starts down the hall- 
way. To his credit, he moves quietly, his 

footsteps silent on the tile. At the end of the 
hallway he looks back at me, and then disap- 
pears around the bend. 

"I'm sick of this shit," the red-haired wo- 
man says. "Just blow up the doors." 

"An explosion would activate one of the 
backup security measures," says Nita. "We 
need the pass code." 

I look around the corner again, and this 
time, David's eyes shift to mine. His face is 
pale and shiny with sweat, and there is a 
wide pool of blood around his ankles. The 
others are looking at Nita, who takes a black 
box from her pocket and opens it to reveal a 
syringe and 

"Thought you said that stuff doesn't work 
on him," the man with the gun says. 

"I said he could resist it, not that it didn't 
work at all," she says. "David, this is a very 
potent blend of truth serum and fear serum. 

I'm going to stick you with it if you don't tell 
us the pass code." 

"I know this is just the fault of your genes, 
Nita," David says weakly. "If you stop now, I 
can help you, I can—" 

Nita smiles a twisted smile. With relish, 
she sticks the needle in his neck and presses 
the plunger. David slumps over, and then his 
body shudders, and shudders again. 

He opens his eyes wide and screams, star- 
ing at the empty air, and I know what he's 
seeing, because I've seen it myself, in Erudite 
headquarters, under the influence of the ter- 
ror serum. I watched my worst fears come to 

Nita kneels in front of him and grabs his 

"David!" she says urgently. "I can make it 
stop if you tell us how to get into this room. 
Hear me?" 

He pants, and his eyes aren't focused on 
her, but rather on something over her 

shoulder. "Don't do it!" he shouts, and he 
lunges forward, toward whatever phantom 
the serum is showing him. Nita puts an arm 
across his chest to keep him steady, and he 
screams, "Don't—!" 

Nita shakes him. "I'll stop them from do- 
ing it if you tell me how to get in!" 

"Her!" David says, and tears gleam in his 
eyes. "The— the name—" 

"Whose name?" 

"We're running out of time!" the man with 
the gun trained on David says. "Either we get 
the serum or we kill him — " 

"Her," David says, pointing at the space in 
front of him. 

Pointing at me. 

I stretch my arms around the corner of the 
wall and fire twice. The first bullet hits the 
wall. The second hits the man in the arm, so 
the huge weapon topples to the floor. The 
red-haired woman points her weapon at 
me— or the part of me that she can see, half 

hidden by the wall— and Nita screams, "Hold 
your fire!" 

"Tris," Nita says, "you don't know what 
you're doing—" 

"You're probably right," I say, and I fire 
again. This time my hand is steadier, my aim 
is better; I hit Nita's side, right above her 
hip. She screams into her mask and clutches 
the hole in her skin, sinking to her knees, her 
hands covered in blood. 

David surges toward me with a grimace of 
pain as he puts weight on his injured leg. I 
wrap my arm around his waist and swing his 
body around so he's between me and the re- 
maining soldiers. Then I press one of my 
guns to the back of his head. 

They all freeze. I can feel my heartbeat in 
my throat, in my hands, behind my eyes. 

"Fire, and I'll shoot him in the head," I say. 

"You wouldn't kill your own leader," the 
red-haired woman says. 

"He's not my leader. I don't care if he lives 
or dies," I say. "But if you think I'm going to 
let you gain control of that death serum, 
you're insane." 

I start to shuffle backward, with David 
whimpering in front of me, still under the in- 
fluence of the serum cocktail. I duck my head 
and turn my body sideways so it's safely be- 
hind his. I keep one of the guns against his 

We reach the end of the hallway, and the 
woman calls my bluff. She fires, and hits 
David just above the knee, in his other leg. 
He collapses with a scream, and I am ex- 
posed. I dive to the ground, slamming my el- 
bows into the floor, as a bullet goes past me, 
the sound vibrating inside my head. 

Then I feel something hot spreading 
through my left arm, and I see blood and my 
feet scramble on the floor, searching for trac- 
tion. I find it and fire blindly down the hall- 
way. I grab David by the collar and drag him 

around the corner, pain searing through my 
left arm. 

I hear running footsteps and groan. 
But they aren't coming from behind me; 
they're coming from in front. People sur- 
round me, Matthew among them, and some 
of them pick David up and run with him 
down the hallway. Matthew offers me his 

My ears are ringing. I can't believe I did it. 


THE HOSPITAL IS packed with people, all 
of them yelling or racing back and forth or 
yanking curtains shut. Before I sat down I 
checked all the beds for Tobias. He wasn't in 
any of them. I am still shaking with relief. 

Uriah is not here either. He is in one of the 
other rooms, and the door is closed— not a 
good sign. 

The nurse who dabs my arm with antisep- 
tic is breathless and looks around at all the 

activity instead of at my wound. I'm told it's 
a minor graze, nothing to worry about. 

"I can wait, if you need to do something 
else," I say. "I have to find someone anyway." 

She purses her lips, then says, "You need 


"Not your arm, your head," she says, 
pointing to a spot above my eye. I had almost 
forgotten about the cut in all the chaos, but it 
still hasn't stopped bleeding. 


"I'm going to have to give you a shot of this 
numbing agent," she says, holding up a 

I am so used to needles that I don't even 
react. She dabs my forehead with antisep- 
tic—they are so careful about germs 
here— and I feel the sting and prickle of the 
needle, diminishing by the second as the 
numbing agent does its work. 

I watch the people rush past as she stitches 
my skin— a doctor pulls off a pair of blood- 
stained rubber gloves; a nurse carries a tray 
of gauze, his shoes nearly slipping on the tile; 
a family member of someone injured wrings 
her hands. The air smells like chemicals and 
old paper and warm bodies. 
"Any updates on David?" I say. 

"He'll live, but it will take him a long time 
to walk again," she says. Her lips stop puck- 
ering, just for a few seconds. "Could have 
been a lot worse, if you hadn't been there. 
You're all set." 

I nod. I wish I could tell her that I'm not a 
hero, that I was using him as a shield, like a 
wall of meat. I wish I could confess to being a 
person full of hate for the Bureau and for 
David, a person who would let someone else 
get riddled with bullets to save herself. My 
parents would be ashamed. 

She places a bandage over the stitches to 
protect the wound, and gathers all the 

wrappers and soaked cotton balls into her 
fists to throw them away. 

Before I can thank her, she is gone, off to 
the next bed, the next patient, the next 

Injured people line the hallway outside the 
emergency ward. I have gathered from the 
evidence that there was another explosion 
set off at the same time as the one near the 
entrance. Both were diversions. Our attack- 
ers got in through the underground tunnel, 
as Nita said they would. She never men- 
tioned blowing holes in walls. 

The doors at the end of the hallway open, 
and a few people rush in, carrying a young 
woman— Nita— between them. They put her 
on a cot near one of the walls. She groans, 
clutching at a roll of gauze that is pressed to 
the wound in her side. I feel strangely separ- 
ate from her pain. I shot her. I had to. That's 
the end of it. 

As I walk down the aisle between the 
wounded, I notice the uniforms. Everyone 
sitting here wears green. With few excep- 
tions, they are all support staff. They are 
clutching bleeding arms or legs or heads, 
their injuries no better than my own, some 
much worse. 

I catch my reflection in the windows just 
beyond the main corridor— my hair is stringy 
and limp, and the bandage dominates my 
forehead. David's blood and my blood smear 
my clothes in places. I need to shower and 
change, but first I have to find Tobias and 
Christina. I haven't seen either of them since 
before the invasion. 

It doesn't take me long to find 
Christina— she is sitting in the waiting room 
when I walk out of the emergency ward, her 
knee jiggling so much that the person next to 
her is giving her dirty looks. She lifts a hand 
to greet me, but her eyes shift away from 
mine and toward the doors right afterward. 

"You all right?" she asks me. 

"Yeah," I say. "There's still no update on 
Uriah. I couldn't get into the room." 

"These people make me crazy, you know 
that?" she says. "They won't tell anyone any- 
thing. They won't let us see him. It's like they 
think they own him and everything that hap- 
pens to him!" 

"They work differently here. I'm sure 
they'll tell you when they know something 

"Well, they would tell you," she says, 
scowling. "But I'm not convinced they would 
give me a second look." 

A few days ago I might have disagreed with 
her, unsure how influential their belief in ge- 
netic damage was on their behavior. I'm not 
sure what to do— not sure how to talk to her 
now that I have these advantages and she 
does not and there's nothing either of us can 
do about it. All I can think to do is 
be near her. 

"I have to find Tobias, but I'll come back 
after I do and sit with you, okay?" 

She finally looks at me, and her knee goes 
still. "They didn't tell you?" 

My stomach clenches with fear. "Tell me 

"Tobias was arrested," she says quietly. "I 
saw him sitting with the invaders right be- 
fore I came in here. Some people saw him at 
the control room before the attack— they say 
he was disabling the alarm system." 

There is a sad look in her eyes, like she pit- 
ies me. But I already knew what Tobias did. 

"Where are they?" I say. 

I need to talk to him. And I know what I 
need to say. 


MY WRISTS STING from the plastic tie the 
guard squeezed around them. I probe my jaw 
with just my fingertips, testing the skin for 

"All right?" Reggie says. 

I nod. I have dealt with worse injuries than 
this— I have been hit harder than I was by 
the soldier who slammed the butt of his gun 
into my jaw while he was arresting me. His 
eyes were wild with anger when he did it. 

Mary and Rafi sit a few feet away, Rafi 
clutching a handful of gauze to his bleeding 
arm. A guard stands between us and them, 
keeping us separate. As I look at them, Rafi 
meets my eyes and nods. As if to say, Well 

If I did well, why do I feel sick to my 

"Listen," Reggie says, shifting so he's 
closer to me. "Nita and the fringe people are 
taking the fall. It'll be all right." 

I nod again, without conviction. We had a 
backup plan for our probable arrest, and I'm 
not worried about its success. What I am 
worried about is how long it's taking them to 
deal with us, and how casual it has been— we 

have been sitting against a wall in an empty 
corridor since they caught the invaders more 
than an hour ago, and no one has come to 
tell us what will happen to us, or to ask us 
any questions. I haven't even seen Nita yet. 

It puts a sour taste in my mouth. Whatever 
we did, it seems to have shaken them up, and 
I know of nothing that shakes people up as 
much as lost lives. 

How many of those am I responsible for, 
because I participated in this? 

"Nita told me they were going to steal 
memory serum," I say to Reggie, and I'm 
afraid to look at him. "Was that true?" 

Reggie eyes the guard who stands a few 
feet away. We have already been yelled at 
once for talking. 

But I know the answer. 

"It wasn't, was it," I say. Tris was right. 
Nita was lying. 

"Hey!" The guard marches toward us and 
sticks the barrel of her gun between us. 
"Move aside. No conversation allowed." 

Reggie shifts to the right, and I make eye 
contact with the guard. 

"What's going on?" I say. "What 

"Oh, like you don't know," she answers. 
"Now keep your mouth shut." 

I watch her walk away, and then I see a 
small blond girl appear at the end of the hall- 
way. Tris. A bandage stretches across her 
forehead, and blood smears her clothes in 
the shape of fingers. She clutches a piece of 
paper in her fist. 

"Hey!" the guard says. "What are you do- 
ing here?" 

"Shelly," the other guard says, jogging 
over. "Calm down. That's the girl who saved 

The girl who saved David— from what, 

"Oh." Shelly puts her gun down. "Well, it's 
still a valid question." 

"They asked me to bring you guys an up- 
date," Tris says, and she offers Shelly the 
piece of paper. "David is in recovery. He'll 
live, but they're not sure when he'll walk 
again. Most of the other injured have been 
cared for." 

The sour taste in my mouth grows 
stronger. David can't walk. And what they've 
been doing all this time is caring for the in- 
jured. All this destruction, and for what? I 
don't even know. I don't know the truth. 

What did I do? 

"Do they have a casualty count?" Shelly 

"Not yet," Tris replies. 

"Thanks for letting us know." 

"Listen." She shifts her weight to one foot. 
"I need to talk to him." 

She jerks her head toward me. 
"We can't really-" Shelly starts. 

"Just for a second, I promise," Tris says. 

"Let her," the other guard says. "What 
could it hurt?" 

"Fine," Shelly says. "I'll give you two 

She nods to me, and I use the wall to push 
myself to my feet, my hands still bound in 
front of me. Tris comes closer, but not that 
close— the space, and her folded arms, form a 
barrier between us that may as well be a wall. 
She looks somewhere south of my eyes. 

"Tris, I-" 

"Want to know what your friends did?" she 
says. Her voice shakes, and I do not make 
the mistake of thinking it's from tears. It's 
from anger. "They weren't after the memory 
serum. They were after poison— death ser- 
um. So that they could kill a bunch of im- 
portant government people and start a war." 

I look down, at my hands, at the tile, at the 
toes of her shoes. A war. "I didn't know—" 

"I was right. I was right, and you didn't 
listen. Again," she says, quiet. Her eyes lock 
on mine, and I find that I do not want the eye 
contact I craved, because it takes me apart, 
piece by piece. "Uriah was standing right in 
front of one of the explosives they set off as 
diversions. He's unconscious and they're not 
sure he'll wake up." 

It's strange how a word, a phrase, a sen- 
tence, can feel like a blow to the head. 


All I can see is Uriah's face when he hit the 
net after the Choosing Ceremony, the giddy 
smile he wore as Zeke and I pulled him onto 
the platform next to the net. Or him sitting in 
the tattoo parlor, his ear taped forward so it 
wouldn't get in Tori's way as she drew a 
snake on his skin. Uriah might not wake up? 
Uriah, gone forever? 

And I promised. I promised Zeke I would 
look after him, I promised . . . 

"He's one of the last friends I have," she 
says, her voice breaking. "I don't know if I'll 
ever be able to look at you the same way 

She walks away. I hear Shelly's muffled 
voice telling me to sit down, and I sink to my 
knees, letting my wrists rest on my legs. I 
struggle to find a way to escape this, the hor- 
ror of what I've done, but there is no sophist- 
icated logic that can liberate me; there is no 
way out. 

I put my face in my hands and try not to 
think, try not to imagine anything at all. 

The overhead light in the interrogation 
room reflects a muddled circle in the center 
of the table. That is where I keep my eyes as I 
recite the story Nita gave me, the one that is 
so close to true I have no trouble telling it. 
When I'm finished, the man recording it taps 
out my last sentences on his screen, the glass 
lighting up with letters where his fingers 
touch it. Then the woman acting as David's 

proxy— Angela— says, "So you didn't know 
the reason Juanita asked you to disable the 
security system?" 

"No," I say, which is true. I didn't know the 
real reason; I only knew a lie. 

They put all the others under truth serum, 
but not me. The genetic anomaly that makes 
me aware during simulations also suggests I 
could be resistant to serums, so my truth ser- 
um testimony might not be reliable. As long 
as my story fits with the others, they will as- 
sume it's true. They don't know that, a few 
hours ago, all of us were inoculated against 
truth serum. Nita's informant among the 
GPs provided her with the inoculation serum 
months ago. 

"How, then, did she compel you to do it?" 

"We're friends," I say. "She is— was— one 
of the only friends I had here. She asked me 
to trust her, told me it was for a good reason, 
so I did it." 

"And what do you think about the situ- 
ation now?" 

I finally look at her. "I've never regretted 
something so much in my life." 

Angela's hard, bright eyes soften a little. 
She nods. "Well, your story fits with what the 
others told us. Given your newness to this 
community, your ignorance of the master 
plan, and your genetic deficiency, we are in- 
clined to be lenient. Your sentence is pa- 
role—you must work for the good of this 
community, and stay on your best behavior, 
for one year. You will not be allowed to enter 
any private laboratories or rooms. You will 
not leave the confines of this compound 
without permission. You will check in every 
month with a parole officer who will be as- 
signed to you at the conclusion of our pro- 
ceedings. Do you understand these terms?" 

With the words "genetic deficiency" linger- 
ing in my mind, I nod and say, "I 

"Then we're finished here. You're free to 
go." She stands, pushing her chair back. The 
recorder also stands, and slips his screen in- 
to his bag. Angela touches the table so that I 
look up at her again. 

"Don't be so hard on yourself," she says. 
"You're very young, you know." 

I don't think my youth excuses it, but I ac- 
cept her attempt at kindness without 

"Can I ask what's going to happen to 
Nita?" I say. 

Angela presses her lips together. "Once she 
recovers from her substantial injuries, she 
will be transferred to our prison and will 
spend the duration of her 
life there," she says. 
"She won't be executed?" 

"No, we don't believe in capital punish- 
ment for the genetically damaged." Angela 
moves toward the door. "We can't have the 
same behavioral expectations for those with 

damaged genes as we do for those with pure 
genes, after all." 

With a sad smile, she leaves the room, and 
doesn't close the door behind her. I stay in 
my seat for a few seconds, absorbing the 
sting of her words. I wanted to believe they 
were all wrong about me, that I was not lim- 
ited by my genes, that I was no more dam- 
aged than any other person. But how can 
that be true, when my actions landed Uriah 
in the hospital, when Tris can't even look me 
in the eye, when so many people died? 

I cover my face and grit my teeth as the 
tears fall, bearing the wave of despair like it 
is a fist, striking me. By the time I get up to 
leave, the cuffs of my sleeves, used to wipe 
my cheeks, are damp, and my jaw aches. 

"HAVE YOU BEEN in yet?" 

Cara stands beside me, her arms folded. 
Yesterday Uriah was transferred from his 

secure room to a room with a viewing win- 
dow, I suspect to keep us from asking to see 
him all the time. Christina sits by his bed 
now, grasping his limp hand. 

I thought he would have come apart like a 
rag doll with a pulled thread, but he doesn't 
look that different, except for some bandages 
and scrapes. I feel like he could wake up at 
any moment, smiling and wondering why 
we're all staring at him. 

"I was in there last night," I say. "It just 
didn't seem right to leave him alone." 

"There is some evidence to suggest that, 
depending on the extent of his brain damage, 
he can on some level hear and feel us," says 
Cara. "Though I was told his prognosis is not 

Sometimes I still want to smack her. As if I 
need to be reminded that Uriah is unlikely to 
recover. "Yeah." 

After I left Uriah's side last night, I 

wandered the compound without any sense 
of direction. I should have been thinking of 
my friend, teetering between this world and 
whatever comes next, but instead I thought 
of what I said to Tobias. And how I felt when 
I looked at him, like something was 

I didn't tell him it was the end of our rela- 
tionship. I meant to, but when I was looking 
at him, the words were impossible to say. I 
feel tears welling up again, as they have 
every hour or so since yesterday, and I push 
them away, swallow them down. 

"So you saved the Bureau," Cara says, 
turning to me. "You seem to get involved in a 
lot of conflict. I suppose we should all be 
grateful that you are steady in a crisis." 

"I didn't save the Bureau. I have no in- 
terest in saving the Bureau," I retort. "I kept 
a weapon out of some dangerous hands, 
that's all." I wait a beat. "Did you just com- 
pliment me?" 

"I am capable of recognizing another 
person's strengths," Cara replies, and she 
smiles. "Additionally, I think our issues are 
now resolved, both on a logical and an emo- 
tional level." She clears her throat a little, 
and I wonder if it's finally acknowledging 
that she has emotions that makes her un- 
comfortable, or something else. "It sounds 
like you know something about the Bureau 
that has made you angry. I wonder if you 
could tell me what it is." 

Christina rests her head on the edge of 
Uriah's mattress, her slender body collapsing 
sideways. I say wryly, "I wonder. We may 
never know." 

"Hmm." The crease between Cara's eye- 
brows appears when she frowns, making her 
look so much like Will that I have to look 
away. "Maybe I should say please." 

"Fine. You know Jeanine's simulation ser- 
um? Well, it wasn't hers." I sigh. "Come on. 
I'll show you. It'll be easier that way." 

It would be just as easy to tell her what I 
saw in that old storage room, nestled deep in 
the Bureau laboratories. But the truth is, I 
just want to keep myself busy, so I don't 
think about Uriah. Or Tobias. 

"It seems like we'll never reach the end of 
all these deceptions," Cara says as we walk 
toward the storage room. "The factions, the 
video Edith Prior left us . . . all lies, designed 
to make us behave a particular way." 

"Is that what you really think about the 
factions?" I say. "I thought you loved being 
an Erudite." 

"I did." She scratches the back of her neck, 
leaving little red lines on her skin from her 
fingernails. "But the Bureau made me feel 
like a fool for fighting for any of it, and for 
what the Allegiant stood for. And I don't like 
to feel 

"So you don't think any of it was worth- 
while," I say. "Any of the Allegiant stuff." 

"You do?" 

"It got us out," I say, "and it got us to the 
truth, and it was better than the factionless 
commune Evelyn had in mind, where no one 
gets to choose anything at all." 

"I suppose," she says. "I just pride myself 
on being someone who can see through 
things, the faction system included." 

"You know what the Abnegation used to 
say about pride?" 

"Something unfavorable, I assume." 

I laugh. "Obviously. They said it blinds 
people to the truth of what they are." 

We reach the door to the labs, and I knock 
a few times so Matthew will hear me and let 
us in. As I wait for him to open the door, 
Cara gives me a strange look. 

"The old Erudite writings said the same 
thing, more or less," she says. 

I never thought the Erudite would say any- 
thing about pride— that they would even con- 
cern themselves with morality. It sounds like 

I was wrong. I want to ask her more, but 
then the door opens, and Matthew stands in 
the hallway, chewing on an apple core. 

"Can you let me into the storage room?" I 
say. "I need to show Cara something." 

He bites off the end of the apple core and 
nods. "Of course." 

I cringe, imagining the bitter taste of apple 
seeds, and follow him. 


I CAN'T GO back to the staring eyes and 
unspoken questions of the dormitory. I know 
I shouldn't return to the scene of my great 
crime, even though it's not one of the secure 
areas I'm barred from entering, but I feel like 
I need to see what's happening inside the 
city. Like I need to remember that there is a 
world outside this one, where I am not 

I walk to the control room and sit in one of 
the chairs. Each screen in the grid above me 

shows a different part of the city: the Merci- 
less Mart, the lobby of Erudite headquarters, 
Millennium Park, the pavilion outside the 
Hancock building. 

For a long time I watch the people milling 
around inside Erudite headquarters, their 
arms covered in factionless armbands, 
weapons at their hips, exchanging quick con- 
versation or handing off cans of food for din- 
ner, an old factionless habit. 

Then I hear someone at the control room 
desks say, "There he is," to one of her 
coworkers, and I scan the screens to see what 
she's talking about. Then I see him, standing 
in front of the Hancock building: Marcus, 
near the front doors, checking his watch. 

I get up and tap the screen with my index 
finger to turn on the sound. For a moment 
only the rush of air comes through the 
speakers just below the screen, but then, 
footsteps. Johanna Reyes approaches my 
father. He stretches his hand out for her to 

shake, but she doesn't, and my father is left 
with his hand dangling in the air, a piece of 
bait she did not take. 

"I knew you stayed in the city," she says. 
"They're looking all over for you." 

A few of the people milling around the 
control room gather behind me to watch. I 
hardly notice them. I am watching my 
father's arm return to his side in a fist. 

"Have I done something to offend you?" 
Marcus says. "I contacted you because I 
thought you were a friend." 

"I thought you contacted me because you 
know I'm still the leader of the Allegiant, and 
you want an ally," Johanna says, bending her 
neck so a lock of hair falls over her scarred 
eye. "And depending on what your aim is, I 
am still that, Marcus, but I think our friend- 
ship is over." 

Marcus's eyebrows pinch together. My 
father has the look of a man who used to be 
handsome, but as he has aged, his cheeks 

have become hollow, his features harsh and 
strict. His hair, cropped close to his skull in 
the Abnegation style, does not help this 

"I don't understand," Marcus says. 

"I spoke to some of my Candor friends," 
Johanna says. "They told me what your boy 
said when he was under truth serum. That 
nasty rumor Jeanine Matthews spread about 
you and your son ... it was true, wasn't it?" 

My face feels hot, and I shrink into myself, 
my shoulders curving in. 

Marcus is shaking his head. "No, Tobias 

Johanna holds up a hand. She speaks with 
her eyes closed, like she can't stand to look at 
him. "Please. I have watched how your son 
behaves, how your wife behaves. I know 
what people who are stained with violence 
look like." She pushes her hair behind her 
ear. "We recognize our own." 

"You can't possibly believe—" Marcus 
starts. He shakes his head. "I'm a disciplin- 
arian, yes, but I only wanted what was 

"A husband should not discipline his wife," 
Johanna says. "Not even in Abnegation. And 
as for your son . . . well, let us say that I do 
believe it of you." 

Johanna's fingers skip over the scar on her 
cheek. My heart overwhelms me with its 
rhythm. She knows. She knows, not because 
she heard me confess to my shame in the 
Candor interrogation room, but because she 
knows, she has experienced it herself, I'm 
sure of it. I wonder who it was for 
her— mother? Father? Someone else? 

Part of me always wondered what my fath- 
er would do if directly confronted with the 
truth. I thought he might shift from the self- 
effacing Abnegation leader to the nightmare 
I knew at home, that he might lash out and 
reveal himself for who he is. It would be a 

satisfying reaction for me to see, but it is not 
his real reaction. 

He just stands there looking confused, and 
for a moment I wonder if h e is confused, if 
in his sick heart he believes his own lies 
about disciplining me. The thought creates a 
storm inside me, a rumbling of thunder and 
a rush of wind. 

"Now that I've been honest," Johanna 
says, a little more calm now, "you can tell me 
why you asked me to come here." 

Marcus shifts to a new subject like the old 
one was never discussed. I see in him a man 
who divides himself into compartments and 
can switch between them on command. One 
of those compartments was reserved only for 
my mother and me. 

The Bureau employees move the camera in 
closer, so that the Hancock building is just a 
black backdrop behind Marcus's and 
Johanna's torsos. I follow a girder diagonally 

across the screen so I don't have to look at 

"Evelyn and the factionless are tyrants," 
Marcus says. "The peace we experienced 
among the factions, before Jeanine's first at- 
tack, can be restored, I'm sure of it. And I 
want to try to restore it. I think this is 
something you want too." 

"It is," Johanna says. "How do you think 
we should go about it?" 

"This is the part you might not like, but I 
hope you will keep an open mind," Marcus 
says. "Evelyn controls the city because she 
controls the weapons. If we take those 
weapons away, she won't have nearly as 
much power, and she can be challenged." 

Johanna nods, and scrapes her shoe 
against the pavement. I can only see the 
smooth side of her face from this angle, the 
limp but curled hair, the full mouth. 

"What would you like me to do?" she says. 

"Let me join you in leading the Allegiant," 
he says. "I was an Abnegation leader. I was 
practically the leader of this entire city. 
People will rally behind me." 

"People have rallied already," Johanna 
points out. "And not behind a person, but be- 
hind the desire to reinstate the factions. Who 
says I need you?" 

"Not to diminish your accomplishments, 
but the Allegiant are still too insignificant to 
be any more than a small uprising," Marcus 
says. "There are more factionless than any of 
us knew. You do need me. You know it." 

My father has a way of persuading people 
without charm that has always confused me. 
He states his opinions as if they're facts, and 
somehow his complete lack of doubt makes 
you believe him. That quality frightens me 
now, because I know what he told me: that I 
was broken, that I was worthless, that I was 
nothing. How many of those things did he 
make me believe? 

I can see Johanna beginning to believe 
him, thinking of the small cluster of people 
she has gathered to the Allegiant cause. 
Thinking of the group she sent outside the 
fence, with Cara, and never heard from 
again. Thinking of how alone she is, and how 
rich his history of leadership is. I want to 
scream at her through the screens not to 
trust him, to tell her that he only wants the 
factions back because he knows he can then 
take up his place as their leader again. But 
my voice can't reach her, wouldn't be able to 
even if I was standing right next to her. 

Carefully, Johanna says to him, "Can you 
promise me that you will, wherever possible, 
try to limit the destruction we 
will cause?" 

Marcus says, "Of course." 

She nods again, but this time it looks like 
she's nodding to herself. 

"Sometimes we need to fight for peace," 
she says, more to the pavement than to 

Marcus. "I think this is one of those times. 
And I do think you would be useful for 
people to rally behind." 

It's the beginning of the Allegiant rebellion 
I've been expecting since I first heard the 
group had formed. Even though it has 
seemed inevitable to me since I saw how 
Evelyn chose to rule, I feel sick. It seems like 
the rebellions never stop, in the city, in the 
compound, anywhere. There are just breaths 
between them, and foolishly, we call 
those breaths "peace." 

I move away from the screen, intending to 
leave the control room behind me, to get 
some fresh air wherever I can. 

But as I walk away, I catch sight of another 
screen, showing a dark-haired woman pacing 
back and forth in an office in Erudite 
headquarters. Evelyn— of course they keep 
footage of Evelyn on the most prominent 
screens in the control room, it only makes 

Evelyn pushes her hands into her hair, 
clenching her fingers around the thick locks. 
She drops to a crouch, papers littering the 
floor all around her, and I think, She's crying 
, but I'm not sure why, since I don't see her 
shoulders shake. 

I hear, through the screen speakers, a 
knock on the office door. Evelyn straightens, 
pats her hair, wipes her face, and says, 
"Come in!" 

Therese comes in, her factionless armband 
askew. "Just got an update from the patrols. 
They say they haven't seen any sign of him." 

"Great." Evelyn shakes her head. "I exile 
him, and he stays inside the city. He must be 
doing this just to spite me." 

"Or he's joined the Allegiant, and they're 
harboring him," Therese says, slinging her 
body across one of the office chairs. She 
twists paper into the floor with her boot 

"Well, obviously." Evelyn puts her arm 
against the window and leans into it, looking 
out over the city and beyond it, the marsh. 
"Thank you for the update." 

"We'll find him," Therese says. "He can't 
have gone far. I swear we'll find him." 

"I just want him to be gone," Evelyn says, 
her voice tight and small, like a child's. I 
wonder if she's still afraid of him, in the way 
that I'm still afraid of him, like a nightmare 
that keeps resurfacing during the day. I won- 
der how similar my mother and I are, deep 
down where it counts. 

"I know," Therese says, and she leaves. 

I stand for a long time, watching Evelyn 
stare out the window, her fingers twitching 
at her side. 

I feel like what I have become is halfway 
between my mother and my father, violent 
and impulsive and desperate and afraid. I 
feel like I have lost control of what I have 



DAVID SUMMONS ME to his office the next 
day, and I am afraid that he remembers how 
I used him as a shield when I was backing 
away from the Weapons Lab, how I pointed a 
gun at his head and said I didn't care if he 
lived or died. 

Zoe meets me in the hotel lobby and leads 
me through the main hallway and down an- 
other one, long and narrow, with windows 
on my right that show the small fleet of air- 
planes perched in rows on the concrete. 
Light snow touches the glass, an early taste 
of winter, and melts within seconds. 

I sneak looks at her as we walk, hoping to 
see what she is like when she doesn't think 
anyone is watching, but she seems just the 
same as always— chipper, but businesslike. 
Like the attack never happened. 

"He'll be in a wheelchair," she says when 
we reach the end of the narrow hallway. "It's 

best not to make a big deal of it. He doesn't 
like to be pitied." 

"I don't pity him." I struggle to keep the 
anger out of my voice. It would make her 
suspicious. "He's not the first person to ever 
be hit with a bullet." 

"I always forget that you have seen far 
more violence than we have," Zoe says, and 
she scans her card at the next security barri- 
er we reach. I stare through the glass at the 
guards on the other side —they stand erect, 
their guns at their shoulders, facing forward. 
I get the sense they have to stand that way all 

I feel heavy and achy, like my muscles are 
communicating a deeper, emotional pain. 
Uriah is still in a coma. I still can't look at 
Tobias when I see him in the dormitory, in 
the cafeteria, in the hallway, without seeing 
the exploded wall next to Uriah's head. I'm 
not sure when, or if, anything will ever get 

better, not sure if these wounds are the kind 
that can heal. 

We walk past the guards, and the tile turns 
to wood beneath my feet. Small paintings 
with gilded frames line the walls, and just 
outside David's office is a pedestal with a 
bouquet of flowers on it. They are small 
touches, but the effect is that I feel like my 
clothes are smudged with dirt. 

Zoe knocks, and a voice within calls out, 
"Come in!" 

She opens the door for me but doesn't fol- 
low me in. David's office is spacious and 
warm, the walls lined with books where they 
are not lined with windows. On the left side 
is a desk with glass screens suspended above 
it, and on the right side is a small laboratory 
with wood furnishings instead of metal ones. 

David sits in a wheelchair, his legs covered 
in a stiff material— to keep the bones in place 
so they can heal, I assume. He looks pale and 
wan, but healthy enough. Though I know 

that he had something to do with the attack 
simulation, and with all those deaths, I find 
it difficult to pair those actions with the man 
I see in front of me. I wonder if this is how it 
is with all evil men, that to someone, they 
look just like good men, talk like good men, 
are just as likable as good men. 

"Tris." He pushes himself toward me and 
presses one of my hands between his. I keep 
my hand firmly in his, though his skin feels 
dry as paper and I am repulsed by him. 

"You are so very brave," he says, and then 
he releases my hand. "How are your 

I shrug. "I've had worse. How are yours?" 

"It will take me some time to walk again, 
but they're confident that I will. Some of our 
people are developing sophisticated leg 
braces anyway, so I can be their first test 
case if I have to," he says, the corners of his 
eyes crinkling. "Could you push me behind 

the desk again? I am still having trouble 

I do, guiding his stiff legs under the tab- 
letop and letting the rest of him follow. 
When I'm sure he's positioned correctly, I sit 
in the chair across from him and try to smile. 
In order to find some way to avenge my par- 
ents, I need to keep his trust and his fond- 
ness for me intact. And I won't do that with a 

"I asked you to come here mostly so that I 
could thank you," he says. "I can't think of 
many young people who would have come 
after me instead of running for cover, or who 
would have been able to save this compound 
the way you did." 

I think of pressing a gun to his head and 
threatening his life, and swallow hard. 

"You and the people you came with have 
been in a regrettable state of flux since your 
arrival," he says. "We aren't quite sure what 
to do with all of you, to be honest, and I'm 

sure you don't know what to do with 
yourselves, but I have thought of something I 
would like you to do. I am the official leader 
of this compound, but apart from that, we 
have a similar system of governance to the 
Abnegation, so I am advised by a small group 
of councilors. I would like you to begin train- 
ing for that position." 

My hands tighten around the armrests. 

"You see, we are going to need to make 
some changes around here now that we have 
been attacked," he says. "We are going to 
have to take a stronger stand for our cause. 
And I think you know how to do that." 

I can't argue with that. 

"What ..." I clear my throat. "What would 
training for that entail?" 

"Attending our meetings, for one thing," 
he says, "and learning the ins and outs of our 
compound— how we function, from top to 
bottom, our history, our values, and so on. I 
can't allow you to be a part of the council in 

any official capacity at such a young age, and 
there is a track you must follow— assisting 
one of the current council members— but I 
am inviting you to travel down the road, if 
you would like to." 

His eyes, not his voice, ask me the 

The councilors are probably the same 
people who authorized the attack simulation 
and ensured that it was passed on to Jeanine 
at the right time. And he wants me to sit 
among them, learn to become them. Even 
though I can taste bile in the back of my 
mouth, I have no trouble answering. 

"Of course," I say, and smile. "I would be 

If someone offers you an opportunity to 
get closer to your enemy, you always take it. I 
know that without having learned it from 

He must believe my smile, because 
he grins. 

"I thought you would say yes," he says. 
"It's something I wanted your mother to do 
with me, before she volunteered to enter the 
city. But I think she had fallen in love with 
the place from afar and couldn't resist it." 

"Fallen in love . . . with the city?" I say. "No 
accounting for taste, I suppose." 

It's just a joke, but my heart isn't in it. Still, 
David laughs, and I know I've said the right 

"You were . . . close with my mother, while 
she was here?" I say. "I've been reading her 
journal, but she's not very wordy." 

"No, she wouldn't be, would she? Natalie 
was always very straightforward. Yes, we 
were close, your mother and I." His voice 
softens when he talks about her— he is no 
longer the toughened leader of this com- 
pound, but an old man, reflecting on some 
fonder past. 

The past that happened before he got her 

"We had a similar history. I was also 
plucked right out of the damaged world as a 
child . . . my parents were severely dysfunc- 
tional people who were both taken to prison 
when I was young. Rather than succumbing 
to an adoption system overburdened with 
orphans, my siblings and I ran to the 
fringe— the same place where your mother 
also took refuge, years later— and only I 
came out of there alive." 

I don't know what to say to that— I don't 
know what to do with the sympathy growing 
within me, for a man I know has done ter- 
rible things. I just stare at my hands, and I 
imagine that my insides are liquid metal 
hardening in the air, taking a shape they will 
never leave again. 

"You'll have to go out there with our 
patrols tomorrow. You can see the fringe for 
yourself," he says. "It's something that's im- 
portant for a future council member to see." 

"I'd be very interested," I say. 

"Lovely. Well, I hate to end our time to- 
gether, but I have quite a bit of work to catch 
up on," he says. "I'll have someone notify you 
about the patrols, and our first council meet- 
ing is on Friday at ten in the morning, so I'll 
be seeing you soon." 

I feel frantic— I didn't ask him what I 
wanted to ask him. I don't think there was 
ever an opportunity. It's too late now, any- 
way. I get up and move toward the doorway, 
but then he speaks again. 

"Tris, I feel like I should be open with you, 
if we are to trust each other," he says. 

For the first time since I've met him, David 
looks almost . . . afraid. His eyes are wide 
open, like a child's. But a moment later, the 
expression is gone. 

"I may have been under the influence of a 
serum cocktail at the time," he says, "but I 
know what you said to them to keep them 
from shooting at us. I know you told them 

you would kill me to protect what was in the 
Weapons Lab." 

My throat feels so tight I can hardly 

"Don't be alarmed," he says. "It's one of 
the reasons why I offered you this 


"You demonstrated the quality I most need 
in my advisers," he says. "Which is the ability 
to make sacrifices for the greater good. If we 
are going to win this fight against genetic 
damage, if we are going to save the experi- 
ments from being shut down, we will need to 
make sacrifices. You understand that, don't 

I feel a flash of anger and force myself to 
nod. Nita already told us that the experi- 
ments were in danger of being disbanded, so 
I am not surprised to hear it's true. But 
David's desperation to save his life's work 

doesn't excuse killing off a faction, my 

For a moment I stand with my hand on the 
doorknob, trying to gather myself together, 
and then I decide to take a risk. 

"What would have happened, if they had 
set off another explosion to get into the 
Weapons Lab?" I say. "Nita said it would 
trigger a backup security measure if they did, 
but it seemed like the most obvious solution 
to their problem, to me." 

"A serum would have been released into 
the air . . . one that masks could not have 
protected against, because it is absorbed into 
the skin," says David. "One that even the ge- 
netically pure cannot fight off. I don't know 
how Nita knows about it, since it's not sup- 
posed to be public knowledge, but I suppose 
we'll find out some other time." 

"What does the serum do?" 

His smile turns into a grimace. "Let's just 
say it's bad enough that Nita would rather be 

in prison for the rest of her life than come in- 
to contact with it." 

He's right. He doesn't have to say anything 


"LOOK WHO IT is," Peter says as I walk into 
the dormitory. "The traitor." 

There are maps spread across his cot and 
the one next to his. They are white and pale 
blue and dull green, and they draw me to 
them by some strange magnetism. On each 
one Peter has drawn a wobbly circle— around 
our city, around Chicago. He's marking the 

of where he's been. 

I watch that circle shrink into each map, 
until it's just a bright red dot, like a drop of 

And then I back away, afraid of what it 
means that I am so small. 

"If you think you're standing on some kind 
of moral high ground, you're wrong," I say to 
Peter. "Why all the maps?" 

"I'm having trouble wrapping my head 
around it, the size of the world," he says. 
"Some of the Bureau people have been help- 
ing me learn more about it. Planets and stars 
and bodies of water, things like that." 

He says it casually, but I know from the 
frantic scribbling on maps that his interest 
isn't casual— it's obsessive. I was obsessive 
about my fears, once, in the same way, al- 
ways trying to make sense of them, over and 
over again. 

"Is it helping?" I say. I realize that I've nev- 
er had a conversation with Peter that didn't 
involve yelling at him. Not that he didn't de- 
serve it, but I don't know anything about 
him. I barely remember his last name from 
the initiate roster. Hayes. Peter Hayes. 

"Sort of." He picks up one of the bigger 
maps. It shows the entire globe, pressed flat 

like kneaded dough. I stare at it long enough 
to make sense of the shapes on it, the blue 
stretches of water and the multicolored 
pieces of land. On one of the pieces is a red 
dot. He points at it. "That dot covers all the 
places we've ever been. You could cut that 
piece of land out of the ground and sink it in- 
to this ocean and no one would even notice." 

I feel that fear again, the fear of my own 
size. "Right. So?" 

"So? So everything I've ever worried about 
or said or done, how can it possibly matter?" 
He shakes his head. "It doesn't." 

"Of course it does," I say. "All that land is 
filled with people, every one of them differ- 
ent, and the things they do to each other 

He shakes his head again, and I wonder, 
suddenly, if this is how he comforts himself: 
by convincing himself that the bad things 
he's done don't matter. I see how the mam- 
moth planet that terrifies me seems like a 

haven to him, a place where he can disappear 
into its great space, never distinguishing 
himself, and never being held responsible for 
his actions. 

He bends over to untie his shoes. "So, have 
you been ostracized from your little crowd of 

"No," I say automatically. Then I add, 
"Maybe. But they aren't my devotees." 

"Please. They're like the Cult of Four." 

I can't help but laugh. "Jealous? Wish you 
had a Cult of Psychopaths to call your very 

One of his eyebrows twitches up. "If I was 
a psychopath, I would have killed you in your 
sleep by now." 

"And added my eyeballs to your eyeball 
collection, no doubt." 

Peter laughs too, and I realize that I am ex- 
changing jokes and conversation with the 
initiate who stabbed Edward in the eye and 
tried to kill my girlfriend— if she's still that. 

But then, he's also the Dauntless who helped 
us end the attack simulation and saved Tris 
from a horrible death. I am not sure which 
actions should weigh more heavily on my 
mind. Maybe I should forget them all, let 
him begin again. 

"Maybe you should join my little group of 
hated people," says Peter. "So far Caleb and I 
are the only members, but given how easy it 
is to get on that girl's bad side, I'm sure our 
numbers will grow." 

I stiffen. "You're right, it is easy to get on 
her bad side. All you have to do is try to get 
her killed." 

My stomach clenches. I almost got her 
killed. If she had been standing closer to the 
explosion, she might be like Uriah, hooked 
up to tubes in the hospital, her mind quiet. 

No wonder she doesn't know if she wants 
to stay with me or not. 

The ease of a moment ago is gone. I 

cannot forget what Peter did, because he has 
not changed. He is still the same person who 
was willing to kill and maim and destroy to 
climb to the top of his initiate class. And I 
can't forget what I did either. I stand. 

Peter leans against the wall and laces his 
fingers over his stomach. "I'm just saying, if 
she decides someone is worthless, everyone 
follows suit. That's a strange talent, for 
someone who used to be just another boring 
Stiff, isn't it? And maybe too much power for 
one person to have, right?" 

"Her talent isn't for controlling other 
people's opinions," I say, "it's for usually be- 
ing right about people." 

He closes his eyes. "Whatever you 
say, Four." 

All my limbs feel brittle with tension. I 
leave the dormitory and the maps with their 
red circles, though I'm not sure where else to 

To me, Tris has always seemed magnetic in 
a way I could not describe, and that she was 
not aware of. I have never feared or hated 
her for it, the way Peter does, but then, I 
have always been in a position of strength 
myself, not threatened by her. Now that I 
have lost that position, I can feel the tug to- 
ward resentment, as strong and sure as a 
hand around my arm. 

I find myself in the atrium garden again, 
and this time, light glows behind the win- 
dows. The flowers look beautiful and savage 
in the daylight, like vicious creatures suspen- 
ded in time, motionless. 

Cara jogs into the atrium, her hair askew 
and floating over her forehead. "There you 
are. It is frighteningly easy to lose people in 
this place." 

"What is it?" 

"Well— are you all right, Four?" 
I bite down on my lip so hard I feel a 
pinch. "I'm fine. What is it?" 

"We're having a meeting, and your pres- 
ence is required." 

"Who is 'we,' exactly?" 

"GDs and GD sympathizers who don't 
want to let the Bureau get away with certain 
things," she says, and then she cocks her 
head to the side. "But better planners than 
the last ones you fell in with." 

I wonder who told her. "You know about 
the attack simulation?" 

"Better still, I recognized the simulation 
serum in the microscope when Tris showed it 
to me," Cara says. "Yes, I know." 

I shake my head. "Well, I'm not getting in- 
volved in this again." 

"Don't be a fool," she says. "The truth you 
heard is still true. These people are still re- 
sponsible for the deaths of most of the Ab- 
negation and the mental enslavement of the 
Dauntless and the utter destruction of our 
way of life, and something has to be done 
about them." 

I'm not sure I want to be in the same room 
with Tris, knowing that we might be on the 
verge of ending, like standing on the edge of 
a cliff. It's easier to pretend it's not happen- 
ing when I'm not around her. But Cara says 
it so simply I have to agree with her: yes, 
something has to be done. 

She takes my hand and leads me down the 
hotel hallway. I know she's right, but I'm un- 
certain, uneasy about participating in anoth- 
er attempt at resistance. Still, I am already 
moving toward it, part of me eager for a 
chance to move again, instead of standing 
frozen before the surveillance footage of our 
city, as I have been. 

When she's sure I'm following her, she re- 
leases my hand and tucks her stray hair be- 
hind her ears. 

"It's still strange not to see you in blue," I 

"It's time to let all that go, I think," she an- 
swers. "Even if I could go back, I wouldn't 
want to, at this point." 

"You don't miss the factions?" 

"I do, actually." She glances at me. Enough 
time has passed between Will's death and 
now that I no longer see him when I look at 
her, I just see Cara. I have known her far 
longer than I knew him. She has just a touch 
of his goodnaturedness, enough to make me 
feel like I can tease her without offending 
her. "I thrived in Erudite. So many people 
devoted to discovery and innovation— it was 
lovely. But now that I know how large the 
world is . . . well. I suppose I have grown too 
large for my faction, as a consequence." She 
frowns. "I'm sorry, was that arrogant?" 

"Who cares?" " 

"Some people do. It's nice to know you 
aren't one of them." 

I notice, because I can't help it, that some 
of the people we pass on the way to the 

meeting give me nasty looks, or a wide berth. 
I have been hated and avoided before, as the 
son of Evelyn Johnson, factionless tyrant, 
but it bothers me more now. Now I know 
that I have done something to make myself 
worthy of that hatred; I have betrayed them 

Cara says, "Ignore them. They don't know 
what it is to make a difficult decision." 

"You wouldn't have done it, I bet." 

"That is only because I have been taught to 
be cautious when I don't know all the in- 
formation, and you have been taught that 
risks can produce great rewards." She looks 
at me sideways. "Or, in this case, no 

She pauses at the door to the labs Matthew 
and his supervisor use, and knocks. Matthew 
tugs it open and takes a bite out of the apple 
he's holding. We follow him into the room 
where I found out I was not Divergent. 

Tris is there, standing beside Christina, 
who looks at me like I am something rotten 
that needs to be discarded. And in the corner 
by the door is Caleb, his face stained with 
bruises. I am about to ask what happened to 
him when I realize that Tris's knuckles are 
also discolored, and that she very intention- 
ally isn't looking at him. 

Or at me. 

"I think that's everyone," Matthew says. 
"Okay . . . so . . . um. Tris, I suck at this." 

"You do, actually," she says with a grin. I 
feel a flare of jealousy. She clears her throat. 
"So, we know that these people are respons- 
ible for the attack on Abnegation, and that 
they can't be trusted to safeguard our city 
any longer. We know that we want to do 
something about it, and that the previous at- 
tempt to do something was ..." Her eyes 
drift to mine, and her stare carves me into a 
smaller man. "Ill-advised," she finishes. "We 
can do better." 

"What do you propose?" Cara says. 

"All I know right now is that I want to ex- 
pose them for what they are," Tris says. "The 
entire compound can't possibly know what 
their leaders have done, and I think we 
should show them. Maybe then they'll elect 
new leaders, ones who won't treat the people 
inside the experiments as expendable. I 
thought, maybe a widespread truth serum 
'infection,' so to speak—" 

I remember the weight of the truth serum, 
filling me in all my empty places, lungs and 
belly and face. I remember how impossible it 
seemed to me that Tris had lifted that weight 
enough to lie. 

"Won't work," I say. "They're GPs, remem- 
ber? GPs can resist truth serum." 

"That's not necessarily true," Matthew 
says, pinching the string around his neck and 
then twisting it. "We don't see that many 
Divergent resisting truth serum. Just Tris, in 
recent memory. The capacity for serum 

resistance seems to be higher in some people 
than others— take yourself, for example, To- 
bias." Matthew shrugs. "Still, this is why I in- 
vited you, Caleb. You've worked on the ser- 
ums before. You might know them as well as 
I do. Maybe we can develop a truth serum 
that is more difficult to resist." 

"I don't want to do that kind of work any- 
more," Caleb says. 

"Oh, shut-" starts Tris, but Matthew in- 
terrupts her. 

"Please, Caleb," he says. 

Caleb and Tris exchange a look. The skin 
on his face and on her knuckles is nearly the 
same color, purple-bluegreen, as if drawn 
with ink. This is what happens when siblings 
collide— they injure each other the same way. 
Caleb sinks back against the countertop 
edge, touching the back of his head to the 

"Fine," Caleb says. "As long as you promise 
not to use this against me, Beatrice." 

"Why would I?" Tris says. 

"I can help," Cara says, lifting a hand. "I've 
worked on serums too, as an Erudite." 

"Great." Matthew claps his hands together. 
"Meanwhile, Tris will be playing the spy." 

"What about me?" Christina says. 

"I was hoping you and Tobias could get in 
with Reggie," Tris says. "David wouldn't tell 
me about the backup security measures in 
the Weapons Lab, but Nita can't have been 
the only one 
who knew about them." 

"You want me to get in with the guy who 
set off the explosives that put Uriah in a 
coma?" Christina says. 

"You don't have be friends," Tris says, "you 
just need to talk to him about what he 
knows. Tobias can help you." 

"I don't need Four; I can do it myself," 
Christina says. 

She shifts on the exam table, tearing the 
paper beneath her with her thigh, and gives 
me another sour look. I know it must be 
Uriah's blank face she sees when she looks at 
me. I feel like there is something stuck in my 

"You do need me, actually, because he 
already trusts me," I say. "And those people 
are very secretive, which means 
this will require subtlety." 
"I can be subtle," Christina says. 
"No, you can't." 

"He's got a point ..." Tris sings with a 

Christina smacks her arm, and Tris smacks 
her back. 

"It's all settled, then," Matthew says. "I 
think we should meet again after Tris has 
been to the council meeting, which is on Fri- 
day. Come here at five." 

He approaches Cara and Caleb and says 
something about chemical compounds I 

don't quite understand. Christina walks out, 
bumping me with her shoulder as she leaves. 
Tris lifts her eyes to mine. 
"We should talk," I say. 

"Fine," she says, and I follow her into the 

We stand next to the door until everyone 
else leaves. Her shoulders are drawn in like 
she's trying to make herself even smaller, 
trying to evaporate on the spot, and we stand 
too far apart, the entire width of the hallway 
between us. I try to remember the last time I 
kissed her and I can't. 

Finally we're alone, and the hallway is 
quiet. My hands start to tingle and go numb, 
the way they always do when I panic. 

"Do you think you'll ever forgive me?" I 

She shakes her head, but says, "I don't 
know. I think that's what I need to figure 

"You know . . . you know I never wanted 
Uriah to get hurt, right?" I look at the 
stitches crossing her forehead and I add, "Or 
you. I never wanted you to get hurt either." 

She's tapping her foot, her body shifting 
with the movement. She nods. "I know that." 

"I had to do something," I say. "I had to." 

"A lot of people got hurt," she says. "All be- 
cause you dismissed what I said, be- 
cause—and this is the worst part, Tobi- 
as—because you thought I was being petty 
and jealous. Just some silly sixteen-year-old 
girl, right?" She shakes her head. 

"I would never call you silly or petty," I say 
sternly. "I thought your judgment was 
clouded, yes. But that's all." 

"That's enough." Her fingers slide through 
her hair and wrap around it. "It's just the 
same thing all over again, isn't it? You don't 
respect me as much as you say you do. When 
it comes down to it, you still believe I can't 
think rationally — " 

"That is not what's happening!" I say hotly. 
"I respect you more than anyone. But right 
now I'm wondering what bothers you more, 
that I made a stupid decision or that I didn't 
make your decision. " 

"What's that supposed to mean?" 

"It means," I say, "that you may have said 
you just wanted us to be honest with each 
other, but I think you really wanted me to al- 
ways agree with you." 

"I can't believe you would say that! You 
were wrong—" 

"Yeah, I was wrong!" I'm shouting now, 
and I don't know where the anger came 
from, except that I can feel it swirling around 
inside me, violent and vicious and the 
strongest I have felt in days. "I was wrong, I 
made a huge mistake! My best friend's 
brother is as good as dead! And now you're 
acting like a parent, punishing me for it be- 
cause I didn't do as I was told. Well, you are 

not my parent, Tris, and you don't get to tell 
me what to do, what to choose—!" 

"Stop yelling at me," she says quietly, and 
she finally looks at me. I used to see all kinds 
of things in her eyes, love and longing and 
curiosity, but now all I see is anger. "Just 

Her quiet voice stalls the anger inside me, 
and I relax into the wall behind me, shoving 
my hands into my pockets. I didn't mean to 
yell at her. I didn't mean to get angry at all. 

I stare, shocked, as tears touch her cheeks. 
I haven't seen her cry in a long time. She 
sniffs, and gulps, and tries to sound normal, 
but she doesn't. 

"I just need some time," she says, choking 
on each word. "Okay?" 

"Okay," I say. 

She wipes her cheeks with her palms and 
walks down the hallway. I watch her blond 
head until it disappears around the bend, 
and I feel bare, like there's nothing left to 

protect me against pain. Her absence stings 
worst of all. 


"THERE SHE IS," Amar says as I approach 
the group. "Here, I'll get you your vest, Tris." 

"My . . . vest?" As promised by David yes- 
terday, I'm going to the fringe this afternoon. 
I don't know what to expect, which usually 
makes me nervous, but I'm too worn-out 
from the past few days to feel much of 

"Bulletproof vest. The fringe is not all that 
safe," he says, and he reaches into a crate 
near the doors, sorting through a stack of 
thick black vests to find the right size. He 
emerges with one that still looks far too big 
for me. "Sorry, not much variety here. This 
will work just fine. Arms up." 

He guides me into the vest and tightens 
the straps at my sides. 

"I didn't know you would be here," I say. 

"Well, what did you think I did at the Bur- 
eau? Just wandered around cracking jokes?" 
He smiles. "They found a good use for my 
Dauntless expertise. I'm part of the security 
team. So is George. We usually just handle 
compound security, but any time anyone 
wants to go to the fringe, I volunteer." 

"Talking about me?" George, who was 
standing in the group by the doors. "Hi, Tris. 
I hope he's not saying anything bad." 

George puts his arm across Amar's 
shoulders, and they grin at each other. Ge- 
orge looks better than the last time I saw 
him, but grief leaves its mark on his expres- 
sion, taking the crinkles out of the corners of 
his eyes when he smiles, taking the dimple 
from his cheek. 

"I was thinking we should give her a gun," 
Amar says. He glances at me. "We don't nor- 
mally give potential future council members 
weapons, because they have no clue how to 
use them, but it's pretty clear that you do." 

"It's really all right," I say. "I don't need-" 
"No, you're probably a better shot than 
most of them," George says. "We could use 
another Dauntless on board with us. Let me 
go get one." 

A few minutes later I am armed and walk- 
ing with Amar to the truck. He and I get in 
the far back, George and a woman named 
Ann get in the middle, and two older security 
officers named Jack and Violet get in the 
front. The back of the truck is covered with a 
hard black material. The back doors look 
opaque and black from the outside, but from 
the inside they're transparent, so we can see 
where we're going. I am nestled between 
Amar and stacks of equipment that block our 
view of the front of the truck. George peers 
over the equipment and grins when the truck 
starts, but other than that, it's just Amar and 

I watch the compound disappear behind 
us. We drive through the gardens and 

outbuildings that surround it, and peeking 
out from behind the edge of the compound 
are the airplanes, white and stationary. We 
reach the fence, and the gates open for us. I 
hear Jack speaking to the soldier at the outer 
fence, telling him our plans and the contents 
of the vehicle —a series of words I don't un- 
derstand —before we can be released into the 

I ask, "What's the purpose of this patrol? 
Beyond showing me how things work, I 

"We've always kept an eye on the fringe, 
which is the nearest genetically damaged 
area outside the compound. Mostly just re- 
search, studying how the genetically dam- 
aged behave," Amar says. "But after the at- 
tack, David and the council decided we 
needed more extensive surveillance set up 
there so we can prevent an attack from hap- 
pening again." 

We drive past the same kind of ruins I saw 
when we left the city— the buildings col- 
lapsing under their own weight, and the 
plants roaming wild over the land, breaking 
through concrete. 

I don't know Amar, and I don't exactly 
trust him, but I have to ask: 

"So you believe it all? All the stuff about 
genetic damage being the cause of . . . this?" 

All his old friends in the experiment were 
GDs. Can he possibly believe that they're 
damaged, that there's something wrong with 

"You don't?" Amar says. "The way I see it, 
the earth has been around for a long, long 
time. Longer than we can imagine. And be- 
fore the Purity War, no one had ever done 
this, right?" He waves his hand to indicate 
the world outside. 

"I don't know," I say. "I find it hard to be- 
lieve that they didn't." 

"Such a grim view of human nature you 
have," he says. 
I don't respond. 

He continues, "Anyway, if something like 
that had happened in our history, the Bureau 
would know about it." 

That strikes me as naive, for someone who 
once lived in my city and saw, at least on the 
screens, how many secrets we kept from one 
another. Evelyn tried to control people by 
controlling weapons, but Jeanine was more 
ambitious— she knew that when you control 
information, or manipulate it, you don't need 
force to keep people under your thumb. They 
stay there willingly. 

That is what the Bureau— and the entire 
government, probably— is doing: condition- 
ing people to be happy under its thumb. 

We ride in silence for a while, with just the 
sound of jiggling equipment and the engine 
to accompany us. At first I look at every 
building we pass, wondering what it once 

housed, and then they start to blend together 
for me. How many different kinds of ruin do 
you have to see before you resign yourself to 
calling it all "ruin"? 

"We're almost at the fringe," George calls 
from the middle of the truck. "We're going to 
stop here and advance on foot. Everyone 
take some equipment and set it up— except 
Amar, who should just look after Tris. Tris, 
you're welcome to get out and have a look, 
but stay with Amar." 

I feel like all my nerves are too close to the 
surface, and the slightest touch will make 
them fire. The fringe is where my mother re- 
treated after witnessing a murder— it is 
where the Bureau found her and rescued her 
because they suspected her genetic code was 
sound. Now I will walk there, to the place 
where, in some ways, it all began. 

The truck stops, and Amar shoves the 
doors open. He holds his gun in one hand 
and beckons to me with the other. I 

jump out behind him. 

There are buildings here, but they are not 
nearly as prominent as the makeshift homes, 
made of scrap metal and plastic tarps, piled 
up right next to one another like they are 
holding one another upright. In the narrow 
aisles between them are people, mostly chil- 
dren, selling things from trays, or carrying 
buckets of water, or cooking over open fires. 

When the ones nearest to us see us, a 
young boy takes off running and screams, 
"Raid! Raid!" 

"Don't worry about that," Amar says to me. 
"They think we're soldiers. Sometimes they 
raid to transport the kids to orphanages." 

I barely acknowledge the comment. In- 
stead I start walking down one of the aisles, 
as most people take off or shut themselves 
inside their lean-tos with cardboard or more 
tarp. I see them through the cracks between 
the walls, their houses not much more than a 
pile of food and supplies on one side and 

sleeping mats on the other. I wonder what 
they do in the winter. Or what they do for a 

I think of the flowers inside the compound, 
and the wood floors, and all the beds in the 
hotel that are unoccupied, and say, "Do you 
ever help them?" 

"We believe that the best way to help our 
world is to fix its genetic deficiencies," Amar 
says, like he's reciting it from memory. 
"Feeding people is just putting a tiny band- 
age on a gaping wound. It might stop the 
bleeding for a while, but ultimately the 
wound will still be there." 

I can't respond. All I do is shake my head a 
little and keep walking. I am beginning to 
understand why my mother joined Abnega- 
tion when she was supposed to join Erudite. 
If she had really craved safety from Erudite's 
growing corruption, she could have gone to 
Amity or Candor. But she chose the faction 
where she could help the helpless, and 

dedicated most of her life to making sure the 
factionless were provided for. 

They must have reminded her of this 
place, of the fringe. 

I turn my head away from Amar so he 
won't see the tears in my eyes. "Let's go back 
to the truck." 

"You all right?" 


We both turn around to head back to the 
truck, but then we hear gunshots. 

And right after them, a shout. "Help!" 

Everyone around us scatters. 

"That's George," Amar says, and he takes 
off running down one of the aisles on our 
right. I chase him into the scrapmetal struc- 
tures, but he's too quick for me, and this 
place is a maze— I lose him in seconds, and 
then I am alone. 

As much automatic, Abnegation-bred sym- 
pathy as I have for the people living in this 
place, I am also afraid of them. If they are 

like the factionless, then they are surely des- 
perate like the factionless, and I am wary of 
desperate people. 

A hand closes around my arm and drags 
me backward, into one of the aluminum 
lean-tos. Inside everything is tinted blue 
from the tarp that covers the walls, insulat- 
ing the structure against the cold. The floor 
is covered with plywood, and standing in 
front of me is a small, thin woman with a 
grubby face. 

"You don't want to be out there," she says. 
"They'll lash out at anyone, no matter how 
young she is." 
"They?" I say. 

"Lots of angry people here in the fringe," 
the woman says. "Some people's anger 
makes them want to kill everyone they per- 
ceive as an enemy. Some people's makes 
them more constructive." 

"Well, thank you for the help," I say. "My 
name is Tris." 

"Amy. Sit." 

"I can't," I say. "My friends are out there." 

"Then you should wait until the hordes of 
people run to wherever your friends are, and 
then sneak up on them from behind." 

That sounds smart. 

I sink to the floor, my gun digging into my 
leg. The bulletproof vest is so stiff it's hard to 
get comfortable, but I do the best I can to 
seem relaxed. I hear people running outside 
and shouting. Amy flicks the corner of the 
tarp back to see outside. 

"So you and your friends aren't soldiers," 
Amy says, still looking outside. "Which 
means you must be Genetic Welfare types, 

"No," I say. "I mean, they are, but I'm from 
the city. I mean, Chicago." 

Amy's eyebrows pop up high. "Damn. Has 
it been disbanded?" 

"Not yet." 

"That's unfortunate." 

"Unfortunate?" I frown at her. "That's my 
home you're talking about, you know." 

"Well your home is perpetuating the belief 
that genetically damaged people need to be 
fixed— that they're damaged, period, which 
they— we— are not. So yes, it's unfortunate 
that the experiments still exist. I won't apo- 
logize for saying so." 

I hadn't thought about it that way. To me 
Chicago has to keep existing because the 
people I have lost lived there, because the 
way of life I once loved continues there, 
though in a broken form. But I didn't realize 
that Chicago's very existence could be harm- 
ful to people outside who just want to be 
thought of as whole. 

"It's time for you to go," Amy says, drop- 
ping the corner of the tarp. "They're probably 
in one of the meeting areas, northwest of 

"Thank you again," I say. 

She nods to me, and I duck out of her 
makeshift home, the boards creaking be- 
neath my feet. 

I move through the aisles, fast, glad that all 
the people scattered when we arrived so 
there is no one to block my way. I jump over 
a puddle of— well, I don't want to know what 
it is— and emerge into a kind of courtyard, 
where a tall, gangly boy has a gun pointed at 

A small crowd of people surrounds the boy 
with the gun. They have distributed among 
them the surveillance equipment George was 
carrying, and they're destroying it, hitting it 
with shoes or rocks or hammers. 

George's eyes shift to me, but I touch a fin- 
ger to my lips, hastily. I am behind the crowd 
now; the one with the gun doesn't know I'm 

"Put the gun down," George says. 
"No!" the boy answers. His pale eyes keep 
shifting from George to the people around 

him and back. "Went to a lot of trouble to get 
this, not gonna give it to you now." 

"Then just ... let me go. You can 
keep it." 

"Not until you tell us where you've been 
taking our people!" the boy says. 

"We haven't taken any of your people," Ge- 
orge says. "We're not soldiers. We're just 

"Yeah, right," the boy says. "A bulletproof 
vest? If that's not soldier shit, then I'm the 
richest kid in the States. Now tell me what I 
need to know!" 

I move back so I'm standing behind one of 
the lean-tos, then put my gun around the 
edge of the structure and say, "Hey!" 

Everyone in the crowd turns at once, but 
the boy with the gun doesn't stop aiming at 
George, like I'd hoped. 

"I've got you in my sights," I say. 
"Leave now and I'll let you go." 
"I'll shoot him!" the boy says. 

"I'll shoot you," I say. "We're with the gov- 
ernment, but we aren't soldiers. We don't 
know where your people are. If you let him 
go, we'll all leave quietly. If you kill him, I 
guarantee there will be soldiers here soon to 
arrest you, and they won't be as forgiving as 
we are." 

At that moment Amar emerges into the 
courtyard behind George, and someone in 
the crowd screeches, "There are more of 
them!" And everyone scatters. The boy with 
the gun dives into the nearest aisle, leaving 
George, Amar, and me alone. Still, I keep my 
gun up by my face, in case they decide to 

Amar wraps his arms around George, and 
George thumps his back with a fist. Amar 
looks at me, his face over George's shoulder. 
"Still don't think genetic damage is to blame 
for any of these troubles?" 

I walk past one of the lean-tos and see a 
little girl crouching just inside the door, her 
arms wrapped around her knees. She sees 
me through the crack in the layered tarps 
and whimpers a little. I wonder who taught 
these people to be so terrified of soldiers. I 
wonder what made a young boy desperate 
enough to aim a gun at one of them. 

"No," I say. "I don't." 

I have better people to blame. 
By the time we get back to the truck, Jack 
and Violet are setting up a surveillance cam- 
era that wasn't stolen by people in the fringe. 
Violet has a screen in her hands with a long 
list of numbers on it, and she reads them to 
Jack, who programs them into his screen. 

"Where have you guys been?" he says. 

"We were attacked," George says. "We 
have to leave, now." 

"Luckily, that's the last set of coordinates," 
Violet says. "Let's get going." 

We pile into the truck again. Amar draws 
the doors shut behind us, and I set my gun 
on the floor with the safety on, glad to be rid 
of it. I didn't think I would be aiming a dan- 
gerous weapon at someone today when I 
woke up. I didn't think I would witness those 
kinds of living conditions, either. 

"It's the Abnegation in you," Amar says. 
"That makes you hate that place. I can tell." 

"It's a lot of things in me." 

"It's just something I noticed in Four, too. 
Abnegation produces deeply serious people. 
People who automatically see things like 
need," he says. "I've noticed that when 
people switch to Dauntless, it creates some 
of the same types. Erudite who switch to 
Dauntless tend to turn cruel and brutal. 
Candor who switch to Dauntless tend to be- 
come boisterous, fight-picking adrenaline 
junkies. And Abnegation who switch to 
Dauntless become ... I don't know, soldiers, 
I guess. Revolutionaries. 

"That's what he could be, if he trusted 
himself more," he adds. "If Four wasn't so 
plagued with self-doubt, he would be one 
hell of a leader, I think. I've always thought 

"I think you're right," I say. "It's when he's 
a follower that he gets himself into trouble. 
Like with Nita. Or Evelyn." 

What about you? I ask myself. You 
wanted to make him a follower too. 

No, I didn't, I tell myself, but I'm not 
sure if I believe it. 
Amar nods. 

Images from the fringe keep rising up in- 
side me like hiccups. I imagine the child my 
mother was, crouched in one of those lean- 
tos, scrambling for weapons because they 
meant an ounce of safety, choking on smoke 
to keep warm in the winter. I don't know why 
she was so willing to abandon that place 
after she was rescued. She became absorbed 
into the compound, and then worked on its 

behalf for the rest of her life. Did she forget 
about where she came from? 

She couldn't have. She spent her entire life 
trying to help the factionless. Maybe it wasn't 
a fulfillment of her duty as an Abnega- 
tion—maybe it came from a desire to help 
people like the ones she had left. 

Suddenly I can't stand to think of her, or 
that place, or the things I saw there. I grab 
on to the first thought that comes to my 
mind, to distract myself. 

"So you and Tobias were good friends?" 

"Is anyone good friends with him?" Amar 
shakes his head. "I gave him his nickname, 
though. I watched him face his fears and I 
saw how troubled he was, and I figured he 
could use a new life, so I started calling him 
'Four.' But no, I wouldn't say we were good 
friends. Not as good as I wanted to be." 

Amar leans his head back against the wall 
and closes his eyes. A small smile curls his 

"Oh," I say. "Did you . . . like him?" 

"Now why would you ask that?" 

I shrug. "Just the way you talk about him." 

"I don't like him anymore, if that's what 
you're really asking. But yes, at one time I 
did, and it was clear that he did not return 
that particular sentiment, so I backed off," 
Amar says. "I'd prefer it if you didn't say 

"To Tobias? Of course I won't." 

"No, I mean, don't say anything to anyone. 
And I'm not talking about just the thing with 

He looks at the back of George's head, now 
visible above the considerably diminished 
pile of equipment. 

I raise an eyebrow at him. I'm not sur- 
prised he and George were drawn to each 
other. They're both Divergent who had to 
fake their own deaths to survive. Both out- 
siders in an unfamiliar world. 

"You have to understand," Amar says. 
"The Bureau is obsessed with procre- 
ation—with passing on genes. And George 
and I are both GPs, so any entanglement that 
can't produce a stronger genetic code . . . It's 
not encouraged, that's all." 

"Ah." I nod. "You don't have to worry 
about me. I'm not obsessed with producing 
strong genes." I smile wryly. 
"Thank you," he says. 

For a few seconds we sit quietly, watching 
the ruins turn to a blur as the truck picks up 

"I think you're good for Four, you know," 
he says. 

I stare at my hands, curled in my lap. I 
don't feel like explaining to him that we're on 
the verge of breaking up— I don't know him, 
and even if I did, I wouldn't want to talk 
about it. All I can manage to say is, "Oh?" 

"Yeah. I can see what you bring out in him. 
You don't know this because you've never 

experienced it, but Four without you is a 

much different person. He's . . . obsessive, 

explosive, insecure 


"What else do you call someone who re- 
peatedly goes through his own fear 

"I don't know . . . determined." I pause. 

"Yeah, sure. But also a little bit crazy, 
right? I mean, most Dauntless would rather 
leap into the chasm than keep going through 
their fear landscapes. There's bravery and 
then there's masochism, and the line got a 
little hazy with him." 

"I'm familiar with the line," I say. 

"I know." Amar grins. "Anyway, all I'm 
saying is, any time you mash two different 
people against each other, you'll get prob- 
lems, but I can see that what you guys have is 
worthwhile, that's all." 

I wrinkle my nose. "Mash people against 
each other, really?" 

Amar presses his palms together and 
twists them back and forth, to illustrate. I 
laugh, but I can't ignore the achy feeling in 
my chest. 


I WALK TO the cluster of chairs closest to 
the windows in the control room and bring 
up the footage from different cameras 
throughout the city, one by one, searching 
for my parents. I find Evelyn first— she is in 
the lobby of Erudite headquarters, talking in 
a close huddle with Therese and a factionless 
man, her second and third in command now 
that I am gone. I turn up the volume on the 
microphone, but I still can't hear anything 
but muttering. 

Through the windows along the back of the 
control room, I see the same empty night sky 
as the one above the city, interrupted only by 

small blue and red lights marking the run- 
ways for airplanes. It's strange to think we 
have that in common when everything else is 
so different here. 

By now the people in the control room 
know that I was the one who disabled the se- 
curity system the night before the attack, 
though I wasn't the one who slipped one of 
their night shift workers peace serum so that 
I could do it— that was Nita. But for the most 
part, they ignore me, as long as I stay away 
from their desks. 

On another screen, I scroll through the 
footage again, looking for Marcus or Jo- 
hanna, anything that can show me what's 
happening with the Allegiant. Every part of 
the city shows up on the screen, the bridge 
near the Merciless Mart and the Pire and the 
main thoroughfare of the Abnegation sector, 
the Hub and the Ferris wheel and the Amity 
fields, now worked by all the factions. But 
none of the cameras shows me anything. 

"You've been coming here a lot," Cara says 
as she approaches. "Are you afraid of the rest 
of the compound? Or of 
something else?" 

She's right, I have been coming to the con- 
trol room a lot. It's just something to pass 
the time as I wait for my sentence from Tris, 
as I wait for our plan to strike the Bureau to 
come together, as I wait for something, 

"No," I say. "I'm just keeping an eye on my 

"The parents you hate?" She stands next to 
me, her arms folded. "Yes, I can see why you 
would want to spend every waking hour star- 
ing at people you want nothing to do with. It 
makes perfect sense." 

"They're dangerous," I say. "More danger- 
ous because no one else knows how danger- 
ous they are but me." 

"And what are you going to do from here, 
if they do something terrible? Send a smoke 

I glare at her. 

"Fine, fine." She puts up her hands in sur- 
render. "I'm just trying to remind you that 
you aren't in their world anymore, you're in 
this one. That's all." 

"Point taken." 

I never thought of the Erudite as being 
particularly perceptive about relationships, 
or emotions, but Cara's discerning eyes see 
all kinds of things. My fear. My search for a 
distraction in my past. It's almost alarming. 

I scroll past one of the camera angles and 
then pause, and scroll back. The scene is 
dark, because of the hour, but I see people 
alighting like a flock of birds around a build- 
ing I don't recognize, their movements 

"They're doing it," Cara says, excited. "The 
Allegiant are actually attacking." 

"Hey!" I shout to one of the women at the 
control room desks. The older one, who al- 
ways gives me a nasty look when I show up, 
lifts her head. "Camera twenty-four! Hurry!" 

She taps her screen, and everyone milling 
around the surveillance area gathers around 
her. People passing by in the hallway stop to 
see what's happening, and I turn to Cara. 

"Can you go get the others?" I say. "I 
think they should see this." 

She nods, her eyes wild, and rushes away 
from the control room. 

The people around the unfamiliar building 
wear no uniform to distinguish them, but 
they don't wear factionless armbands either, 
and they carry guns. I try to pick out a face, 
anything I recognize, but the footage is too 
blurry. I watch them arrange themselves, 
motioning to one another to communicate, 
dark arms waving in the darker night. 

I wedge my thumbnail between my teeth, 
impatient for something, anything to 

happen. A few minutes later Cara arrives 
with the others at her back. When they reach 
the crowd of people around the primary 
screens, Peter says, "Excuse me!" loud 
enough to make people turn around. When 
they see who he is, they part for him. 

"What's up?" Peter says to me when he's 
closer. "What's going on?" 

"The Allegiant have formed an army," I 
say, pointing at the screen on the left. "There 
are people from every faction in it, even 
Amity and Erudite. I've been watching a lot 

"Erudite?" Caleb says. 

"The Allegiant are the enemies of the new 
enemies, the factionless," Cara replies. 
"Which gives the Erudite and the Allegiant a 
common goal: to usurp Evelyn." 

"Did you say there were Amity in an 
army?" Christina asks me. 

"They're not really participating in the vi- 
olence," I say. "But they are participating in 
the effort." 

"The Allegiant raided their first weapons 
storehouse a few days ago," the young wo- 
man sitting at the control room desk nearest 
to us says over her shoulder. "This is their 
second. That's where they got those 
weapons. After the first raid, Evelyn had 
most of the weapons relocated, but this 
storehouse didn't make it in time." 

My father knows what Evelyn knew: that 
the power to make people fear you is the only 
power you need. Weapons 
will do that for him. 
"What's their goal?" Caleb says. 

"The Allegiant are motivated by the desire 
to return to our original purpose in the city," 
Cara says. "Whether that means sending a 
group of people outside of it, as instructed by 
Edith Prior— which we thought was import- 
ant at the time, though I've since learned 

that her instructions didn't really matter— or 
reinstating the factions by force. They're 
building up to an attack on the factionless 
stronghold. That's what Johanna and I dis- 
cussed before I left. We did not discuss ally- 
ing with your father, Tobias, but I suppose 
she's capable of making her own decisions." 

I almost forgot that Cara was the 
leader of the Allegiant, before we left. Now 
I'm not sure she cares whether the factions 
survive or not, but she still cares about the 
people. I can tell by the way she watches the 
screens, eager but afraid. 

Even over the chatter of the people around 
us, I hear the gunfire when it starts, just 
snaps and claps in the microphones. I tap the 
glass in front of me a few times, and the cam- 
era angle switches to one inside the building 
the invaders have just forced their way into. 
On a table within is a pile of small 
boxes— ammunition— and a few pistols. It's 
nothing compared to the guns the people 

here have, in all their abundance, but in the 
city, I know it's valuable. 

Several men and women with factionless 
armbands guard the table, but they are fall- 
ing fast, outnumbered by the Allegiant. I re- 
cognize a familiar face among them— Zeke, 
slamming the butt of his gun into a faction- 
less man's jaw. The factionless are overcome 
within two minutes, falling to bullets I see 
only when they're already buried in flesh. 
The Allegiant spread through the room, step- 
ping over bodies like they are just more 
debris, and gather everything they can. Zeke 
piles stray guns on the table, a hard look on 
his face that I've only seen a few times. 

He doesn't even know what happened to 

The woman at the desk taps the screen in a 
few places. On one of the smaller screens 
above her is an image— a piece of the sur- 
veillance footage we just watched, frozen at a 
particular moment in time. She taps again, 

and the image moves closer to its targets, a 
man with close-cropped hair and a woman 
with long, dark hair covering one side of her 

Marcus, of course. And Johanna— carrying 
a gun. 

"Between them, they have managed to 
rally most of the loyal faction members to 
their cause. Surprisingly, though, the Allegi- 
ant still don't outnumber the factionless." 
The woman leans back in her chair and 
shakes her head. "There were far more fac- 
tionless than we ever anticipated. It's diffi- 
cult to get an accurate population count on a 
scattered population, after all." 

"Johanna? Leading a rebellion? With a 
weapon? That makes no sense," Caleb says. 

Johanna told me once that if the decisions 
had been up to her, she would have suppor- 
ted action against Erudite instead of the 
passivity the rest of her faction advocated. 
But she was at the mercy of her faction and 

their fear. Now, with the factions disbanded, 
it seems she has become something other 
than the mouthpiece of Amity or even the 
leader of the Allegiant. She has become a 

"Makes more sense than you'd think," I 
say, and Cara nods along with my words. 

I watch them empty the room of weapons 
and ammunition and move on, fast, scatter- 
ing like seeds on the wind. I feel heavier, like 
I am bearing a new burden. I wonder if the 
people around me— Cara, Christina, Peter, 
even Caleb —feel the same way. The city, our 
city, is even closer to total destruction than it 
was before. 

We can pretend that we don't belong there 
anymore, while we're living in relative safety 
in this place, but we do. We always will. 


IT'S DARK AND snowing when we drive 
up to the entrance of the compound. The 

flakes blow across the road, as light as 
powdered sugar. It's just an early autumn 
snow; it will be gone in the morning. I take 
off my bulletproof vest as soon as I get out, 
and offer it to Amar along with my gun. I'm 
uncomfortable holding it now, and I used to 
think that my discomfort would go away with 
time, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe it nev- 
er will, and maybe that's all right. 

Warm air surrounds me as I pass through 
the doors. The compound looks cleaner than 
ever before, now that I've seen the fringe. 
The comparison is unsettling. How can I 
walk these squeaky floors and wear these 
starchy clothes when I know that those 
people are out there, wrapping their houses 
in tarp to stay warm? 

But by the time I reach the hotel dormit- 
ory, the unsettled feeling is gone. 

I scan the room for Christina, or for Tobi- 
as, but neither of them is there. Only Peter 
and Caleb are, Peter with a large book on his 

lap, scribbling notes on a nearby notepad, 
and Caleb reading our mother's journal on 
the screen, his eyes glassy. I try to ignore 

"Have either of you seen ..." But who do I 
want to talk to, Christina or Tobias? 

"Four?" Caleb says, deciding for me. "I saw 
him in the genealogy room earlier." 

"The . . . what room?" 

"They have our ancestors' names on dis- 
play in a room. Can I get a piece of paper?" 
he asks Peter. 

Peter tears a sheet from the back of his 
notepad and hands it to Caleb, who scribbles 
something on it— directions. Caleb says, "I 
found our parents' names there earlier. On 
the right side of the room, second panel from 
the door." 

He hands me the directions without look- 
ing at me. I look at his neat, even letters. Be- 
fore I punched him, Caleb would have in- 
sisted on walking me himself, desperate for 

time to explain himself to me. But recently 
he has kept his distance, either because he's 
afraid of me or because he has finally given 

Neither option makes me feel good. 
"Thank you," I say. "Um . . . how's your 

"It's fine," he says. "I think the bruise 
really brings out my eyes, don't you?" 

He smiles a little, and so do I. But it's clear 
that neither of us knows what to do from 
here, because we've both run out of words. 

"Wait, you were gone today, right?" he 
says after a second. "Something's happening 
in the city. The Allegiant rose up against 
Evelyn, attacked one of her weapons 

I stare at him. I haven't wondered about 
what was happening in the city for a few days 
now; I've been too wrapped up in what's 
happening here. 

"The Allegiant?" I say. "The people cur- 
rently led by Johanna Reyes . . . attacked a 

Before we left, I was sure the city was 
about to explode into another conflict. I 
guess now it has. But I feel detached from 
it— almost everyone I care about is here. 

"Led by Johanna Reyes and Marcus 
Eaton," Caleb says. "But Johanna was there, 
holding a gun. It was ludicrous. The Bureau 
people seemed really disturbed by it." 

"Wow." I shake my head. "I guess it was 
just a matter of time." 

We lapse into silence again, then walk 
away from each other at the same time, 
Caleb returning to his cot and me walking 
down the hallway, following Caleb's 

I see the genealogy room from a distance. 
The bronze walls seem to glow with warm 
light. Standing in the doorway, I feel like I 
am inside a sunset, the radiance surrounding 

me. Tobias's finger runs along the lines of his 
family tree— I assume— but idly, like he's not 
really paying attention to it. 

I feel like I can see that obsessive streak 
Amar was referring to. I know that Tobias 
has been watching his parents on the 
screens, and now he is staring at their 
names, though there's nothing in this room 
he didn't already know. I was right to say 
that he was desperate, desperate for a con- 
nection to Evelyn, desperate not to be dam- 
aged, but I never thought about how those 
things were connected. I don't know how it 
would feel, to hate your own history and to 
crave love from the people who gave that his- 
tory to you at the same time. How have I 
never seen the schism inside his heart? How 
have I never realized before that for all the 
strong, kind parts of him, there are also hurt- 
ing, broken parts? 

Caleb told me that our mother said there 
was evil in everyone, and the first step to 

loving someone else is to recognize that evil 
in ourselves, so we can forgive them. So how 
can I hold Tobias's desperation against him, 
like I'm better than him, like I've never let 
my own brokenness blind me? 

"Hey," I say, crushing Caleb's directions 
into my back pocket. 

He turns, and his expression is stern, fa- 
miliar. It looks the way it did the first few 
weeks I knew him, like a sentry guarding his 
innermost thoughts. 

"Listen," I say. "I thought I was supposed 
to figure out if I could forgive you or not, but 
now I'm thinking you didn't do anything to 
me that I need to forgive, except maybe ac- 
cusing me of being jealous of Nita. . . ." 

He opens his mouth to interject, but I hold 
up a hand to stop him. 

"If we stay together, I'll have to forgive you 
over and over again, and if you're still in this, 
you'll have to forgive me over and over again 
too," I say. "So forgiveness isn't the point. 

What I really should have been trying to fig- 
ure out is whether we were still good for each 
other or not." 

All the way home I thought about what 
Amar said, about every relationship having 
its problems. I thought about my parents, 
who argued more often than any other Ab- 
negation parents I knew, who nonetheless 
went through each day together until they 

Then I thought of how strong I have be- 
come, how secure I feel with the person I 
now am, and how all along the way he has 
told me that I am brave, I am respected, I am 
loved and worth loving. 

"And?" he says, his voice and his eyes and 
his hands a little unsteady. 

"And," I say, "I think you're still the only 
person sharp enough to sharpen someone 
like me." 

"I am," he says roughly. 
And I kiss him. 

His arms slip around me and hold me 
tight, lifting me onto the tips of my toes. I 
bury my face in his shoulder and close my 
eyes, just breathing in the clean smell of him, 
the smell of wind. 

I used to think that when people fell in 
love, they just landed where they landed, and 
they had no choice in the matter afterward. 
And maybe that's true of beginnings, but it's 
not true of this, now. 

I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay 
with him by default as if there's no one else 
available to me. I stay with him because I 
choose to, every day that I wake up, every 
day that we fight or lie to each other or dis- 
appoint each other. I choose him over and 
over again, and he chooses me. 


I ARRIVE AT David's office for my first 
council meeting just as my watch shifts to 
ten, and he pushes himself into the hallway 

soon afterward. He looks even paler than he 
did the last time I saw him, and the dark 
circles under his eyes are pronounced, like 

"Hello, Tris," he says. "Eager, are you? 
You're right on time." 

I still feel a little weight in my limbs from 
the truth serum Cara, Caleb, and Matthew 
tested on me earlier, as part of our plan. 
They're trying to develop a powerful truth 
serum, one that even GPs as serum-resistant 
as I am are not immune to. I ignore the 
heavy feeling and say, "Of course I'm eager. 
It's my first meeting. Want help? You look 

"Fine, fine." 

I move behind him and press into the 
handles of the wheelchair to get it moving. 

He sighs. "I suppose I am tired. I was up 
all night dealing with our most recent crisis. 
Take a left here." 

"What crisis is that?" 

"Oh, you'll find out soon enough, let's not 
rush it." 

We maneuver through the dim hallways of 
Terminal 5, as it is labeled —"an old name," 
David says— which have no windows, no hint 
of the world outside. I can almost feel the 
paranoia emanating from the walls, like the 
terminal itself is terrified of unfamiliar eyes. 
If only they knew what my eyes were search- 
ing for. 

As I walk, I get a glimpse of David's hands, 
pressed to the armrests. The skin around his 
fingernails is raw and red, like he chewed it 
away overnight. The fingernails themselves 
are jagged. I remember when my own hands 
looked that way, when the memories of fear 
simulations crept into every dream and every 
idle thought. Maybe it's David's memories of 
the attack that are doing this to him. 

/ don't care , I think. Remember what he 
did. What he would do again. 

"Here we are," David says. I push him 
through a set of double doors, propped open 
with doorstops. Most of the council members 
seem to be there, stirring tiny sticks in tiny 
cups of coffee, the majority of them men and 
women David's age. There are some younger 
members— Zoe is there, and she gives me a 
strained, but polite, smile when I walk in. 

"Let's come to order!" David says as he 
wheels himself to the head of the conference 
table. I sit in one of the chairs along the edge 
of the room, next to Zoe. It's clear we're not 
supposed to be at the table with all the im- 
portant people, and I'm okay with that— it'll 
be easier to doze off if things get boring, 
though if this new crisis is serious enough to 
keep David awake at night, I doubt it will. 

"Last night I received a frantic call from 
the people in our control room," David says. 
"Evidently Chicago is about to erupt into vi- 
olence again. Faction loyalists calling them- 
selves the Allegiant have rebelled against 

factionless control, attacking weapons safe 
houses. What they don't know is that Evelyn 
Johnson has discovered a new 
weapon— stores of death serum kept hidden 
in Erudite headquarters. As we know, no one 
is capable of resisting death serum, not even 
the Divergent. If the Allegiant attack the fac- 
tionless government, and Evelyn Johnson re- 
taliates, the casualties will obviously be 

I stare at the floor in front of my feet as the 
room bursts into conversation. 

"Quiet," says David. "The experiments are 
already in danger of being shut down if we 
cannot prove to our superiors that we are 
capable of controlling them. Another revolu- 
tion in Chicago would only cement their be- 
lief that this endeavor has outlived its useful- 
ness—something we cannot allow to happen 
if we want to continue to fight genetic 

Somewhere behind David's exhausted, 
haggard expression is something harder, 
stronger. I believe him. I believe that he will 
not allow it to happen. 

"It's time to use the memory serum virus 
for a mass reset," he says. "And I think we 
should use it against all four experiments." 

"Reset them?" I say, because I can't help 
myself. Everyone in the room looks at me at 
once. They seem to have forgotten that I, a 
former member of the experiments they're 
referring to, am in the room. 

"'Resetting' is our word for widespread 
memory erasure," David says. "It is what we 
do when the experiments that incorporate 
behavioral modification are in danger of fall- 
ing apart. We did it when we first created 
each experiment that had a behavioral modi- 
fication component, and the last one in Ch- 
icago was done a few generations before 
yours." He gives me an odd smile. "Why did 
you think there was so much physical 

devastation in the factionless sector? There 
was an uprising, and we had to quell it as 
cleanly as possible." 

I sit stunned in my chair, picturing the 
broken roads and shattered windows and 
toppled streetlights in the factionless sector 
of the city, the destruction that is evident 
nowhere else— not even north of the bridge, 
where the buildings are empty but seem to 
have been vacated peacefully. I always just 
took the broken-down sectors of Chicago in 
stride, as evidence of what happens when 
people are without community. I never 
dreamed that they were the result of an up- 
rising—and a subsequent resetting. 

I feel sick with anger. That they want to 
stop a revolution, not to save lives, but to 
save their precious experiment, would be 
enough. But why do they believe they have 
the right to rip people's memories, their 
identities, out of their heads, just because it's 
convenient for them? 

But of course, I know the answer to that 
question. To them, the people in our city are 
just containers of genetic material— just GDs, 
valuable for the corrected genes they pass 
on, and not for the brains in their heads or 
the hearts in their chests. 

"When?" one of the council members says. 

"Within the next forty-eight hours," David 

Everyone nods as if this is sensible. 

I remember what he said to me in his of- 
fice. If we are going to win this fight against 
genetic damage, we will need to make sacri- 
fices. You understand that, don't you? I 
should have known, then, that he would 
gladly trade thousands of GD memor- 
ies—lives—for control of the experiments. 
That he would trade them without even 
thinking of alternatives— without feeling like 
he needed to bother to save them. They're 
damaged, after all. 



I PROP UP my shoe on the edge of Tris's bed 
and tighten the laces. Through the large win- 
dows I see afternoon light winking in the 
side panels of the parked airplanes on the 
landing strip. GDs in green suits walk across 
the wings and crawl under the noses, check- 
ing the planes before takeoff. 
"How's your project with Matthew 
going?" I say to Cara, who is two beds away. 
Tris let Cara, Caleb, and Matthew test their 
new truth serum on her this morning, but I 
haven't seen her since then. 

Cara is pushing a brush through her hair. 
She glances around the room to make sure 
it's empty before she answers. "Not well. So 
far Tris was immune to the new version of 
the serum we created— it had no effect what- 
soever. It's very strange that a person's genes 
would make them so resistant to mind ma- 
nipulation of any kind." 

"Maybe it's not her genes," I say, shrug- 
ging. I switch feet. "Maybe it's some kind of 
superhuman stubbornness." 

"Oh, are we at the insult part of the break- 
up?" she says. "Because I got in a lot of prac- 
tice after what happened with Will. I have 
several choice things to say about her nose." 

"We didn't break up." I grin. "But it's nice 
to know you have such warm feelings for my 

"I apologize, I don't know why I jumped to 
that conclusion." Cara's cheeks flush. "My 
feelings toward your girlfriend are mixed, 
yes, but for the most part I have a lot of re- 
spect for her." 

"I know. I was just kidding. It's nice to see 
you get flustered every once in a while." 

Cara glares at me. 

"Besides," I say, "what's wrong with her 

The door to the dormitory opens, and Tris 
walks in, hair unkempt and eyes wild. It 

unsettles me to see her so agitated, like the 
ground I'm standing on is no longer solid. I 
get up and smooth my hand over her hair to 
put it back into place. "What happened?" I 
say, my hand coming to rest on her shoulder. 

"Council meeting," Tris says. She covers 
my hand with hers, briefly, then sits on one 
of the beds, her hands dangling between her 

"I hate to be repetitive," Cara says, "but . . . 
what happened?" 

Tris shakes her head like she's trying to 
shake the dust out of it. "The council has 
made plans. Big ones." 

She tells us, in fits and starts, about the 
council's plan to reset the experiments. As 
she speaks she wedges her hands under her 
legs and presses forward into them until her 
wrists turn red. 

When she finishes I move to sit beside her, 
putting my arm across her shoulders. I look 
out the window, at the planes perched on the 

runway, gleaming and poised for flight. In 
less than two days those planes will probably 
drop the memory serum virus over the 

Cara says to Tris, "What do you intend to 
do about it?" 

"I don't know," Tris says. "I feel like I don't 
know what's right anymore." 

They're similar, Cara and Tris, two women 
sharpened by loss. The difference is that 
Cara's pain has made her certain of 
everything, and Tris has guarded her uncer- 
tainty, protected it, despite all she's been 
through. She still approaches everything 
with a question instead of an answer. It is 
something I admire about her— something I 
should probably admire more. 

For a few seconds we stew in silence, and I 
follow the path of my thoughts as they turn 
over and over one another. 

"They can't do this," I say. "They can't 
erase everyone. They shouldn't have the 

power to do that." I pause. "All I can think is 
that this would be so much easier if we were 
dealing with a completely different set of 
people who could actually see reason. Then 
we might be able to find a balance between 
protecting the experiments and opening 
themselves up to other possibilities." 

"Maybe we should import a new group of 
scientists," Cara says, sighing. "And discard 
the old ones." 

Tris's face twists, and she touches a hand 
to her forehead, as if rubbing out some brief 
and inconvenient pain. "No," she says. "We 
don't even need to do that." 

She looks up at me, her bright eyes 
holding me still. 

"Memory serum," she says. "Alan and Mat- 
thew came up with a way to make the serums 
behave like viruses, so they could spread 
through an entire population without inject- 
ing everyone. That's how they're planning to 
reset the experiments. But we could reset 

them." She speaks faster as the idea takes 
shape in her mind, and her excitement is 
contagious; it bubbles inside me like the idea 
is mine and not hers. But to me it doesn't feel 
like she's suggesting a solution to our prob- 
lem. It feels like she's suggesting that we 
cause yet another problem. "Reset the Bur- 
eau, and reprogram them without the propa- 
ganda, without the disdain for GDs. Then 
they'll never risk the memories of the people 
in the experiments again. The danger will be 
gone forever." 

Cara raises her eyebrows. "Wouldn't eras- 
ing their memories also erase all of their 
knowledge? Thus rendering them useless?" 

"I don't know. I think there's a way to tar- 
get memories, depending on where the 
knowledge is stored in the brain, otherwise 
the first faction members wouldn't have 
known how to speak or tie their shoes or 
anything." Tris comes to her feet. "We should 

ask Matthew. He knows how it works better 
than I do." 

I get up too, putting myself in her path. 
The streaks of sun caught on the airplane 
wings blind me so I can't see her face. 

"Tris," I say. "Wait. You really want to 
erase the memories of a whole population 
against their will? That's the same thing 
they're planning to do to our friends and 

I shield my eyes from the sun to see her 
cold look— the expression I saw in my mind 
even before I looked at her. She looks older 
to me than she ever has, stern and tough and 
worn by time. I feel that way, too. 

"These people have no regard for human 
life," she says. "They're about to wipe the 
memories of all our friends and neighbors. 
They're responsible for the deaths of a large 
majority of our old faction." She sidesteps 
me and marches toward the door. "I think 
they're lucky I'm not going to kill them." 


MATTHEW CLASPS HIS hands behind his 

"No, no, the serum doesn't erase all of a 
person's knowledge," he says. "Do you think 
we would design a serum that makes people 
forget how to speak or walk?" He shakes his 
head. "It targets explicit memories, like your 
name, where you grew up, your first 
teacher's name, and leaves implicit memor- 
ies— like how to speak or tie your shoes or 
ride a bicycle— untouched." 

"Interesting," Cara says. "That actually 

Tobias and I exchange a look. There's 
nothing like a conversation between an 
Erudite and someone who may as well be an 
Erudite. Cara and Matthew are standing too 
close together, and the longer they talk, the 
more hand gestures they make. 

"Inevitably, some important memories will 
be lost," Matthew says. "But if we have a re- 
cord of people's scientific discoveries or his- 
tories, they can relearn them in the hazy 
period after their memories are erased. 
People are 
very pliable then." 
I lean against the wall. 

"Wait," I say. "If the Bureau is going to 
load all of those planes with the memory ser- 
um virus to reset the experiments, will there 
be any serum left to use against the 

"We'll have to get it first," Matthew says. 
"In less than forty-eight hours." 

Cara doesn't appear to hear what I said. 
"After you erase their memories, won't you 
have to program them with new memories? 
How does that work?" 

"We just have to reteach them. As I said, 
people tend to be disoriented for a few days 
after being reset, which means they'll be 

easier to control." Matthew sits, and spins in 
his chair once. "We can just give them a new 
history class. One that teaches facts rather 
than propaganda." 

"We could use the fringe's slide show to 
supplement a basic history lesson," I say. 
"They have photographs of a war caused by 

"Great." Matthew nods. "Big problem, 
though. The memory serum virus is in the 
Weapons Lab. The one Nita just tried— and 
failed— to break into." 

"Christina and I were supposed to talk to 
Reggie," Tobias says, "but I think, given this 
new plan, we should talk to Nita instead." 

"I think you're right," I say. "Let's go find 
out where she went wrong." 
When I first arrived here, I felt like the com- 
pound was huge and unknowable. Now I 
don't even have to consult the signs to re- 
member how to get to the hospital, and 
neither does Tobias, who keeps stride with 

me on the way. It's strange how time can 
make a place shrink, make its strangeness 

We don't say anything to each other, 
though I can feel a conversation brewing 
between us. Finally I decide to ask. 

"What's wrong?" I say. "You hardly said 
anything during the meeting." 

"I just . . ." He shakes his head. "I'm not 
sure this is the right thing to do. They want 
to erase our friends' memories, so we decide 
to erase theirs?" 

I turn to him and touch his shoulders 
lightly. "Tobias, we have forty-eight hours to 
stop them. If you can think of any other idea, 
anything else that could save our city, I'm 
open to it." 

"I can't." His dark blue eyes look defeated, 
sad. "But we're acting out of desperation to 
save something that's important to us— just 
like the Bureau is. What's the difference?" 

"The difference is what's right," I say 
firmly. "The people in the city, as a whole, 
are innocent. The people in the Bureau, who 
supplied Jeanine with the attack simulation, 
are not innocent." 

His mouth puckers, and I can tell he 
doesn't completely buy it. 

I sigh. "It's not a perfect situation. But 
when you have to choose between two bad 
options, you pick the one that saves the 
people you love and believe in most. You just 
do. Okay?" 

He reaches for my hand, his hand warm 
and strong. "Okay." 

"Tris!" Christina pushes through the 
swinging doors to the hospital and jogs to- 
ward us. Peter is on her heels, his dark hair 
combed smoothly to the side. 

At first I think she's excited, and I feel a 
swell of hope— what if Uriah is awake? 

But the closer she gets, the more obvious it 
is that she isn't excited. She's frantic. Peter 
lingers behind her, his arms crossed. 

"I just spoke to one of the doctors," she 
says, breathless. "The doctor says Uriah's not 
going to wake up. Something about ... no 
brain waves." 

A weight settles on my shoulders. I knew, 
of course, that Uriah might never wake up. 
But the hope that kept the grief at bay is 
dwindling, slipping away with each word she 

"They were going to take him off life sup- 
port right away, but I pleaded with them." 
She wipes one of her eyes fiercely with the 
heel of her hand, catching a tear before it 
falls. "Finally the doctor said he would give 
me four days. So I can tell his family." 

His family. Zeke is still in the city, and so is 
their Dauntless mother. It never occurred to 
me before that they don't know what 
happened to him, and we never bothered to 

tell them, because we were all so focused 

"They're going to reset the city in forty- 
eight hours," I say suddenly, and I grab 
Tobias's arm. He looks stunned. "If we can't 
stop them, that means Zeke and his mother 
will forget him." 

They'll forget him before they have a 
chance to say good-bye to him. It will be like 
he never existed. 

"What?" Christina demands, her eyes 
wide. "My family is in there. They can't reset 
everyone! How could they do 

"Pretty easily, actually," Peter says. I had 
forgotten that he was there. 

"What are you even doing here?" I 

"I went to see Uriah," he says. "Is there a 
law against it?" 

"You didn't even care about him," I spit. 
"What right do you have—" 

"Tris." Christina shakes her head. "Not 
now, okay?" 

Tobias hesitates, his mouth open like there 
are words waiting on his tongue. 

"We have to go in," he says. "Matthew said 
we could inoculate people against the 
memory serum, right? So we'll go in, inocu- 
late Uriah's family just in case, and take 
them back to the compound to say good-bye 
to him. We have to do it tomorrow, though, 
or we'll be too late." He pauses. "And you can 
inoculate your family too, Christina. I should 
be the one who tells Zeke and Hana, 

Christina nods. I squeeze her arm, in an 
attempt at reassurance. 

"I'm going too," Peter says. "Unless you 
want me to tell David what you're planning." 

We all pause to look at him. I don't know 
what Peter wants with a journey into the city, 
but it can't be good. At the same time, we 

can't afford for David to find out what we're 
doing, not now, when there's no time. 

"Fine," Tobias says. "But if you cause any 
trouble, I reserve the right to knock you un- 
conscious and lock you in an abandoned 
building somewhere." 

Peter rolls his eyes. 

"How do we get there?" Christina says. 
"It's not like they just let people borrow 

"I bet we could get Amar to take you," I 
say. "He told me today that he always volun- 
teers for patrols. So he knows all the right 
people. And I'm sure he would agree to help 
Uriah and his family." 

"I should go ask him now. And someone 
should probably sit with Uriah . . . make sure 
that doctor doesn't go back on his word. 
Christina, not Peter." Tobias rubs the back of 
his neck, pawing at the Dauntless tattoo like 
he wants to tear it from his body. "And then I 
should figure out how to tell Uriah's family 

that he got killed when I was supposed to be 
looking out for him." 

"Tobias—" I say, but he holds up a hand to 
stop me. 

He starts to move away. "They probably 
won't let me visit Nita anyway." 

Sometimes it's hard to know how to take 
care of people. As I watch Peter and Tobias 
walk away— keeping their distance from each 
other— I think it's possible that Tobias needs 
someone to run after him, because people 
have been letting him walk away, letting him 
withdraw, his entire life. But he's right: He 
needs to do this for Zeke, and I need to talk 
to Nita. 

"Come on," Christina says. "Visiting hours 
are almost over. I'm going back to sit with 

Before I go to Nita's room— identifiable by 
the security guard sitting by the door —I stop 
by Uriah's room with Christina. She sits in 

the chair next to him, which is creased with 
the contours of her legs. 

It's been a long time since I've spoken to 
her like a friend, a long time since we 
laughed together. I was lost in the fog of the 
Bureau, in the promise of 

I stand next to her and look at him. He 
doesn't really look injured anymore —there 
are some bruises, some cuts, but nothing ser- 
ious enough to kill him. I tilt my head to see 
the snake tattoo wrapped around his ear. I 
know it's him, but he doesn't look much like 
Uriah without a wide smile on his face and 
his dark eyes bright, alert. 

"He and I weren't really even that close," 
she says. "Just at the . . . the very end. Be- 
cause he had lost someone who died, and so 
had I . . ." 

"I know," I say. "You really helped him." 
I drag a chair over to sit next to her. She 
clutches Uriah's hand, which stays 

limp on the sheets. 

"Sometimes I just feel like I've lost all my 
friends," she says. 

"You haven't lost Cara," I say. "Or Tobias. 
And Christina, you haven't lost me. You'll 
never lose me." 

She turns to me, and somewhere in the 
haze of grief we wrap our arms around each 
other, in the same desperate way we did 
when she told me she had forgiven me for 
killing Will. Our friendship has held up un- 
der an incredible weight, the weight of me 
shooting someone she loved, the weight of so 
many losses. Other bonds would have 
broken. For some reason, this one hasn't. 

We stay clutched together for a long time, 
until the desperation fades. 

"Thanks," she says. "You won't lose me, 

"I'm pretty sure if I was going to, I would 
have already." I smile. "Listen, I have some 
things to catch you up on." 

I tell her about our plan to stop the Bureau 
from resetting the experiments. As I speak, I 
think of the people she stands to lose— her 
father and mother, her sister— all those con- 
nections, forever altered or discarded, in the 
name of genetic purity. 

"I'm sorry," I say when I finish. "I know 
you probably want to help us, but . . ." 

"Don't be sorry." She stares at Uriah. "I'm 
still glad I'm going into the city." She nods a 
few times. "You'll stop them from resetting 
the experiment. I know you will." 

I hope she's right. 
I only have ten minutes until visiting hours 
are over when I arrive at Nita's room. The 
guard looks up from his book and raises his 
eyebrow at me. 

"Can I go in?" I say. 

"Not really supposed to let people in 
there," he says. 

"I'm the one who shot her," I say. "Does 
that count for anything?" 

"Well." He shrugs. "As long as you 
promise not to shoot her again. And get out 
within ten minutes." 

"It's a deal." 

He has me take off my jacket to show that 
I'm not carrying any weapons, and then he 
lets me into the room. Nita jerks to atten- 
tion—as much as she can, anyway. Half her 
body is encased in plaster, and one of her 
hands is cuffed to the bed, as if she could es- 
cape even if she wanted to. Her hair is messy, 
knotted, but of course, she's still pretty. 

"What are you doing here?" she says. 

I don't answer— I check the corners of the 
room for cameras, and there's one across 
from me, pointed at Nita's hospital bed. 

"There aren't microphones," she says. 
"They don't really do that here." 

"Good." I pull up a chair and sit beside her. 
"I'm here because I need important informa- 
tion from you." 

"I already told them everything I felt like 
telling them." She glares at me. "I've got 
nothing more to say. Especially not to the 
person who shot me." 

"If I hadn't shot you, I wouldn't be David's 
favorite person, and I wouldn't know all the 
things I know." I glance at the door, more 
from paranoia than an actual concern that 
someone is listening in. "We've got a new 
plan. Matthew and I. And Tobias. And it will 
require getting into the Weapons Lab." 

"And you thought I could help you with 
that?" She shakes her head. "I couldn't get in 
the first time, remember?" 

"I need to know what the security is like. Is 
David the only person who knows the pass 

"Not like . . . the only person ever," she 
says. "That would be stupid. His superiors 
know it, but he's the only person in the com- 
pound, yes." 

"Okay, then what's the backup security 
measure? The one that is activated if you ex- 
plode the doors?" 

She presses her lips together so they al- 
most disappear, and stares at the halfbody 
cast covering her. "It's the death serum," she 
says. "In aerosol form, it's practically unstop- 
pable. Even if you wear a clean suit or 
something, it works its way in eventually. It 
just takes a little more time that way. That's 
what the lab reports said." 

"So they just automatically kill anyone who 
makes their way into that room without the 
pass code?" I say. 

"It surprises you?" 

"I guess not." I balance my elbows on my 
knees. "And there's no other way in except 
with David's code." 

"Which, as you found out, he is completely 
unwilling to share," she says. 

"There's no chance a GP could resist the 
death serum?" I say. 

"No. Definitely not." 

"Most GPs can't resist the truth serum, 
either," I say. "But I can." 

"If you want to go flirt with death, be my 
guest." She leans back into the pillows. "I'm 
done with that now." 

"One more question," I say. "Say I do want 
to flirt with death. Where do I get explosives 
to break through the doors?" 

"Like I'm going to tell you that." 

"I don't think you get it," I say. "If this plan 
succeeds, you won't be imprisoned for life 
anymore. You'll recover and you'll go free. So 
it's in your best interest to help me." 

She stares at me like she is weighing and 
measuring me. Her wrist tugs against the 
handcuff, just enough that the metal carves a 
line into her skin. 

"Reggie has the explosives," she says. "He 
can teach you how to use them, but he's no 
good in action, so for God's sake, don't bring 
him along unless you feel like babysitting." 

"Noted," I say. 

"Tell him it will require twice as much fire- 
power to get through those doors than any 
others. They're extremely sturdy." 

I nod. My watch beeps on the hour, signal- 
ing that my time is up. I stand and push my 
chair back to the corner where I found it. 

"Thank you for the help," I say. 

"What is the plan?" she says. "If you 
don't mind telling me." 
I pause, hesitating over the words. 

"Well," I say eventually. "Let's just say it 
will erase the phrase 'genetically damaged' 
from everyone's vocabulary." 

The guard opens the door, probably to yell 
at me for overstaying my welcome, but I'm 
already making my way out. I look over my 
shoulder just once before going, and I see 
that Nita is wearing a small smile. 

AMAR AGREES TO help us get into the city 
without requiring much persuasion, eager 
for an adventure, as I knew he would be. We 
agree to meet that evening for dinner to talk 
through the plan with Christina, Peter, and 
George, who will help us get a vehicle. 

After I talk to Amar, I walk to the dormit- 
ory and lay with a pillow over my head for a 
long time, cycling through a script of what I 
will say to Zeke when I see him. I'm sorry, I 
was doing what I thought I had to do, and 
everyone else was looking after Uriah, and I 
didn't think. . . 

People come into the room and leave it, 
the heat switches on and pushes through the 
vents and then turns off again, and all the 
while I am thinking through that script, con- 
cocting excuses and then discarding them, 
choosing the right tone, the right gestures. 
Finally I grow frustrated and take the pillow 
from my face and fling it against the opposite 

wall. Cara, who is just smoothing a clean 
shirt down over her hips, jumps back. 

"I thought you were asleep," she says. 


She touches her hair, ensuring that each 
strand is secure. She is so careful in her 
movements, so precise— it reminds me of the 
Amity musicians plucking at banjo strings. 

"I have a question." I sit up. "It's kind of 

"Okay." She sits across from me, on Tris's 
bed. "Ask it." 

"How were you able to forgive Tris, after 
what she did to your brother?" I say. "As- 
suming you have, that is." 

"Hmm." Cara hugs her arms close to her 
body. "Sometimes I think I have forgiven 
her. Sometimes I'm not certain I have. I 
don't know how— that's like asking how you 
continue on with your life after someone 
dies. You just do it, and the next day you do 
it again." 

"Is there . . . any way she could have made 
it easier for you? Or any way she did?" 

"Why are you asking this?" She sets her 
hand on my knee. "Is it because of Uriah?" 

"Yes," I say firmly, and I shift my leg a 
little so her hand falls away. I don't need to 
be patted or consoled, like a child. I don't 
need her raised eyebrows, her soft voice, to 
coax an emotion from me that I would prefer 
to contain. 

"Okay." She straightens, and when she 
speaks again, she sounds casual, the way she 
usually does. "I think the most crucial thing 
she did— admittedly without meaning 
to— was confess. There is a difference 
between admitting and confessing. Admit- 
ting involves softening, making excuses for 
things that cannot be excused; confessing 
just names the crime at its full severity. That 
was something I needed." 

I nod. 

"And after you've confessed to Zeke," she 
says, "I think it would help if you leave him 
alone for as long as he wants to be left alone. 
That's all you can do." 
I nod again. 

"But, Four," she adds, "you didn't kill Uri- 
ah. You didn't set off the bomb that injured 
him. You didn't make the plan that led to 
that explosion." 

"But I did participate in the plan." 

"Oh, shut up, would you?" She says it 
gently, smiling at me. "It happened. It was 
awful. You aren't perfect. That's all there is. 
Don't confuse your grief with guilt." 

We stay in the silence and the loneliness of 
the otherwise empty dormitory for a few 
more minutes, and I try to let her words 
work themselves into me. 
I eat dinner with Amar, George, Christina, 
and Peter in the cafeteria, between the 
beverage counter and a row of trash cans. 
The bowl of soup before me went cold before 

I could eat all of it, and there are still crack- 
ers swimming in the broth. 

Amar tells us where and when to meet, 
then we go to the hallway near the kitchens 
so we won't be seen, and he takes out a small 
black box with syringes inside it. He gives 
one to Christina, Peter, and me, along with 
an individually packaged antibacterial wipe, 
something I suspect only Amar will bother 

"What's this?" Christina says. "I'm not go- 
ing to inject it into my body unless I know 
what it is." 

"Fine." Amar folds his hands. "There's a 
chance that we will still be in the city when a 
memory serum virus is deployed. You'll need 
to inoculate yourself against it unless you 
want to forget everything you now remem- 
ber. It's the same thing you'll be injecting in- 
to your family's arms, so don't worry about 

Christina turns her arm over and slaps the 
inside of her elbow until a vein stands at at- 
tention. Out of habit, I stick the needle into 
the side of my neck, the same way I did every 
time I went through my fear land- 
scape—which was several times a week, at 
one point. Amar 
does the same thing. 

I notice, however, that Peter only pretends 
to inject himself— when he presses the plun- 
ger down, the fluid runs down his throat, and 
he wipes it casually with a sleeve. 

I wonder what it feels like to volunteer to 
forget everything. 

After dinner Christina walks up to me and 
says, "We need to talk." 

We walk down the long flight of stairs that 
leads to the underground GD space, our 
knees bouncing in unison with each step, 
and down the multicolored hallway. At the 
end, Christina crosses her arms, purple light 
playing over her 

nose and mouth. 

"Amar doesn't know we're going to try to 
stop the reset?" she says. 

"No," I say. "He's loyal to the Bureau. I 
don't want to involve him." 

"You know, the city is still on the verge of 
revolution," she says, and the light turns 
blue. "The Bureau's whole reason for reset- 
ting our friends and families is to stop them 
from killing each other. If we stop the reset, 
the Allegiant will attack Evelyn, Evelyn will 
turn the death serum loose, and a lot of 
people will die. I may still be mad at you, but 
I don't think you want that many people in 
the city to die. Your parents in particular." 

I sigh. "Honestly? I don't really care 
about them." 

"You can't be serious," she says, scowling. 
"They're your parents." 

"I can be, actually," I say. "I want to tell 
Zeke and his mother what I did to Uriah. 

Apart from that, I really don't care what hap- 
pens to Evelyn and Marcus." 

"You may not care about your permanently 
messed-up family, but you should care about 
everyone else!" she says. She takes my arm in 
one strong hand and jerks me so that I look 
at her. "Four, my little sister is in there. If 
Evelyn and the Allegiant smack into each 
other, she could get hurt, and I won't be 
there to protect her." 

I saw Christina with her family on Visiting 
Day, when she was still just a loudmouthed 
Candor transfer to me. I watched her mother 
fix the collar of Christina's shirt with a proud 
smile. If the memory serum virus is de- 
ployed, that memory will be erased from her 
mother's mind. If it's not, her family will be 
caught in the middle of another citywide 
battle for control. 

I say, "So what are you suggesting we do?" 

She releases me. "There has to be a way to 
prevent a huge blowup that doesn't involve 
forcibly erasing everyone's memories." 

"Maybe," I concede. I hadn't thought about 
it because it didn't seem necessary. But it is 
necessary, of course it's necessary. "Did you 
have an idea for how to stop it?" 

"It's basically one of your parents against 
the other one," Christina says. "Isn't there 
something you can say to them that will stop 
them from trying to kill each other?" 

"Something I can say to them?" I say. "Are 
you kidding? They don't listen to anyone. 
They don't do anything that doesn't directly 
benefit them." 

"So there's nothing you can do. You're just 
going to let the city rip itself to shreds." 

I stare at my shoes, bathed in green light, 
mulling it over. If I had different parents— if 
I had reasonable parents, less driven by pain 
and anger and the desire for revenge— it 
might work. They might be compelled to 

listen to their son. Unfortunately, I do not 
have different parents. 

But I could. I could if I wanted them. Just 
a slip of the memory serum in their morning 
coffee or their evening water, and they would 
be new people, clean slates, unblemished by 
history. They would have to be taught that 
they even had a son to begin with; they 
would need to learn my name again. 

It's the same technique we're using to heal 
the compound. I could use it to heal them. 
I look up at Christina. 

"Get me some memory serum," I say. 
"While you, Amar, and Peter are looking for 
your family and Uriah's family, I'll take care 
of it. I probably won't have enough time to 
get to both of my parents, but one of them 
will do." 

"How will you get away from the rest of 

"I need ... I don't know, we need to add a 
complication. Something that requires one of 
us leaving the pack." 

"What about flat tires?" Christina says. 
"We're going at night, right? So I can tell 
Amar to stop so I can go to the bathroom or 
something, slash the tires, and then we'll 
have to split up, so you 
can find another truck." 

I consider this for a moment. I could tell 
Amar what's really going on, but that would 
require undoing the dense knot of propa- 
ganda and lies the Bureau has tied in his 
mind. Assuming I could even do it, we don't 
have time for that. 

But we do have time for a well-told lie. 
Amar knows that my father taught me how 
to start a car with just the wires when I was 
younger. He wouldn't question me volun- 
teering to find us another vehicle. 

"That will work," I say. 

"Good." She tilts her head. "So you're 
really going to erase one of your parents' 

"What do you do when your parents are 
evil?" I say. "Get a new parent. If one of them 
doesn't have all the baggage they currently 
have, maybe the two of them can negotiate a 
peace agreement or something." 

She frowns at me for a few seconds like she 
wants to say something, but eventually, she 
just nods. 



THE SMELL OF bleach tingles in my nose. I 
stand next to a mop in a storage room in the 
basement; I stand in the wake of what I just 
told everyone, which is that whoever breaks 
into the Weapons Lab will be going on a sui- 
cide mission. The death serum is 

"The question is," Matthew says, "is this 
something we're willing to sacrifice 

a life for." 

This is the room where Matthew, Caleb, 
and Cara were developing the new serum, 
before the plan changed. Vials and beakers 
and scribbled-on notebooks are scattered 
across the lab table in front of Matthew. The 
string he wears tied around his neck is in his 
mouth now, and he chews it absentmindedly. 

Tobias leans against the door, his arms 
crossed. I remember him standing that way 
during initiation, as he watched us fight each 
other, so tall and so strong I never dreamed 
he would give me more than a cursory 

"It's not just about revenge," I say. "It's not 
about what they did to the Abnegation. It's 
about stopping them before they do 
something equally bad to the people in all 
the experiments— about taking away their 
power to control thousands of lives." 

"It is worth it," Cara says. "One death, to 
save thousands of people from a terrible 

fate? And cut the compound's power off at 
the knees, so to speak? Is it even a 

I know what she is doing— weighing a 
single life against so many lifetimes and 
memories, drawing an obvious conclusion 
from the scales. That is the way an Erudite 
mind works, and the way an Abnegation 
mind works, but I am not sure if they are the 
minds we need right now. One life against 
thousands of memories, of course the answer 
is easy, but does it have to be one of our 
lives? Do we have to be the ones who act? 

But because I know what my answer will 
be to that question, my thoughts turn to an- 
other question. If it has to be one of us, who 
should it be? 

My eyes shift from Matthew and Cara, 
standing behind the table, to Tobias, to 
Christina, her arm slung over a broom 
handle, and land on Caleb. 


A second later I feel sick with myself. 

"Oh, just come out with it," Caleb says, lift- 
ing his eyes to mine. "You want me to do it. 
You all do." 

"No one said that," Matthew says, spitting 
out the string necklace. 

"Everyone's staring at me," Caleb says. 
"Don't think I don't know it. I'm the one who 
chose the wrong side, who worked with 
Jeanine Matthews; I'm the one none of you 
care about, so I should be the one to die." 

"Why do you think Tobias offered to get 
you out of the city before they executed 
you?" My voice comes out cold, quiet. The 
odor of bleach plays over my nose. "Because 
I don't care whether you live or die? Because 
I don't care about you at all?" 

He should be the one to die, part of me 

/ don't want to lose him, another part 

I don't know which part to trust, which 
part to believe. 

"You think I don't know hatred when I see 
it?" Caleb shakes his head. "I see it every 
time you look at me. On the rare occasions 
when you do look at me." 

His eyes are glossy with tears. It's the first 
time since my near execution that I've seen 
him remorseful instead of defensive or full of 
excuses. It might also be the first time since 
then that I've seen him as my brother instead 
of the coward who sold me out to Jeanine 
Matthews. Suddenly I have trouble 

"If I do this. . ." he says. 

I shake my head no, but he holds up a 

"Stop," he says. "Beatrice, if I do this . . . 
will you be able to forgive me?" 

To me, when someone wrongs you, you 
both share the burden of that wrongdo- 
ing—the pain of it weighs on both of you. 

Forgiveness, then, means choosing to bear 
the full weight all by yourself. Caleb's betray- 
al is something we both carry, and since he 
did it, all I've wanted is for him to take its 
weight away from me. I am not sure that I'm 
capable of shouldering it all myself— not sure 
that I am strong enough, or good enough. 

But I see him steeling himself against this 
fate, and I know that I have to be strong 
enough, and good enough, if he is going to 
sacrifice himself for us all. 

I nod. "Yes," I choke out. "But that's not a 
good reason to do this." 

"I have plenty of reasons," Caleb says. "I'll 
do it. Of course I will." 
I am not sure what just happened. 

Matthew and Caleb stay behind to fit Caleb 
for the clean suit— the suit that will keep him 
alive in the Weapons Lab long enough to set 
off the memory serum virus. I wait until the 
others leave before leaving myself. I want to 

walk back to the dormitory with only my 

thoughts as 


A few weeks ago, I would have volunteered 
to go on the suicide mission myself— and I 
did. I volunteered to go to Erudite headquar- 
ters, knowing that death waited for me there. 
But it wasn't because I was selfless, or be- 
cause I was brave. It was because I was guilty 
and a part of me wanted to lose everything; a 
grieving, ailing part of me wanted to die. Is 
that what's motivating Caleb now? Should I 
really allow him to die so that he feels like his 
debt to me is repaid? 

I walk the hallway with its rainbow of 
lights and go up the stairs. I can't even think 
of an alternative— would I be any more will- 
ing to lose Christina, or Cara, or Matthew? 
No. The truth is that I would be less willing 
to lose them, because they have been good 
friends to me and Caleb has not, not for a 
long time. Even before he betrayed me, he 

left me for the Erudite and didn't look back. I 
was the one who went to visit him during my 
initiation, and he spent the whole time won- 
dering why I was there. 

And I don't want to die anymore. I am up 
to the challenge of bearing the guilt and the 
grief, up to facing the difficulties that life has 
put in my path. Some days are harder than 
others, but I am ready to live each one of 
them. I can't sacrifice myself, this time. 

In the most honest parts of me, I am able 
to admit that it was a relief to hear 
Caleb volunteer. 

Suddenly I can't think about it anymore. I 
reach the hotel entrance and walk to the 
dormitory, hoping that I can just collapse in- 
to my bed and sleep, but Tobias is waiting in 
the hallway for me. 

"You okay?" he says. 

"Yes," I say. "But I shouldn't be." I touch a 
hand, briefly, to my forehead. "I feel like I've 
already been mourning him. Like he died the 

second I saw him in Erudite headquarters 
while I was there. You know?" 

I confessed to Tobias, soon after that, that 
I had lost my entire family. And he assured 
me that he was my family now. 

That is how it feels. Like everything 
between us is twisted together, friendship 
and love and family, so I can't tell the differ- 
ence between any of them. 

"The Abnegation have teachings about 
this, you know," he says. "About when to let 
others sacrifice themselves for you, even if 
it's selfish. They say that if the sacrifice is the 
ultimate way for that person to show you 
that they love you, you should let them do 
it." He leans one shoulder into the wall. 
"That, in that situation, it's the greatest gift 
you can give them. Just as it was when both 
of your parents died for you." 

"I'm not sure it's love that's motivating 
him, though." I close my eyes. 
"It seems more like guilt." 

"Maybe," Tobias admits. "But why would 
he feel guilty for betraying you if he didn't 
love you?" 

I nod. I know that Caleb loves me, and al- 
ways has, even when he was hurting me. I 
know that I love him, too. But this feels 
wrong anyway. 

Still, I am able to be momentarily placated, 
knowing that this is something my parents 
might have understood, if they were here 
right now. 

"This may be a bad time," he says, "but 
there's something I want to say to you." 

I tense immediately, afraid that he's going 
to name some crime of mine that went unac- 
knowledged, or a confession that's eating 
away at him, or something equally difficult. 
His expression is unreadable. 

"I just want to thank you," he says, his 
voice low. "A group of scientists told you that 
my genes were damaged, that there was 
something wrong with me —they showed you 

test results that proved it. And even I started 
to believe it." 

He touches my face, his thumb skimming 
my cheekbone, and his eyes are on mine, in- 
tense and insistent. 

"You never believed it," he says. "Not for a 
second. You always insisted that I was ... I 
don't know, whole." 

I cover his hand with my own. 
"Well, you are." 

"No one has ever told me that before," he 
says softly. 

"It's what you deserve to hear," I say 
firmly, my eyes going cloudy with tears. 
"That you're whole, that you're worth loving, 
that you're the best person I've ever known." 

Just as the last word leaves my mouth, he 
kisses me. 

I kiss him back so hard it hurts, and twist 
my fingers into his shirt. I push him down 
the hallway and through one of the doors to 

a sparsely furnished room near the dormit- 
ory. I kick the door shut with my heel. 

Just as I have insisted on his worth, he has 
always insisted on my strength, insisted that 
my capacity is greater than I believe. And I 
know, without being told, that's what love 
does, when it's right— it makes you more 
than you were, more than you thought you 
could be. 

This is right. 

His fingers slide over my hair and curl into 
it. My hands shake, but I don't care if he no- 
tices, I don't care if he knows that I'm afraid 
of how intense this feels. I draw his shirt into 
my fists, tugging him closer, and sigh his 
name against his mouth. 

I forget that he is another person; instead 
it feels like he is another part of me, just as 
essential as a heart or an eye or an arm. I 
pull his shirt up and over his head. I run my 
hands over the skin I expose like it is my 

His hands clutch at my shirt and I am re- 
moving it and then I remember, I remember 
that I am small and flatchested and sickly 
pale, and I pull back. 

He looks at me, not like he's waiting for an 
explanation, but like I am the only thing in 
the room worth looking at. 

I look at him, too, but everything I see 
makes me feel worse— he is so handsome, 
and even the black ink curling over his skin 
makes him into a piece of art. A moment ago 
I was convinced that we were perfectly 
matched, and maybe we still are— but only 
with our clothes on. 

But he is still looking at me that way. 

He smiles, a small, shy smile. Then he puts 
his hands on my waist and draws me toward 
him. He bends down and kisses between his 
fingers and whispers "beautiful" against my 

And I believe him. 

He stands and presses his lips to mine, his 
mouth open, his hands on my bare hips, his 
thumbs slipping under the top of my jeans. I 
touch his chest, lean into him, feel his sigh 
singing in my bones. 

"I love you, you know," I say. 

"I know," he replies. 

With a quirk of his eyebrows, he bends and 
wraps an arm around my legs, throwing me 
over his shoulder. A laugh bursts from my 
mouth, half joy and half nerves, and he car- 
ries me across the room, dropping me unce- 
remoniously on the couch. 

He lies down next to me, and I run my fin- 
gers over the flames wrapping around his rib 
cage. He is strong, and lithe, and certain. 

And he is mine. 

I fit my mouth to his. 
I was so afraid that we would just keep 
colliding over and over again if we stayed to- 
gether, and that eventually the impact would 
break me. But now I know I am like the 
blade and he is like the whetstone— 

I am too strong to break so easily, and I 
become better, sharper, every time I touch 


THE FIRST THING I see when I wake, still 
on the couch in the hotel room, are the birds 
flying over her collarbone. Her shirt, re- 
trieved from the floor in the middle of the 
night because of the cold, is pulled down on 
one side from where she's lying on it. 

We have slept close to each other before, 
but this time feels different. Every other time 
we were there to comfort each other or to 
protect each other; this time we're here just 

because we want to be— and because we fell 
asleep before we could go back to the 

I stretch out my hand and touch my finger- 
tips to her tattoos, and she opens her eyes. 

She wraps an arm around me and pulls 
herself across the cushions so she's right up 
against me, warm and soft and pliable. 

"Morning," I say. 

"Shh," she says. "If you don't acknowledge 
it, maybe it will go away." 

I draw her toward me, my hand on her hip. 
Her eyes are wide, alert, despite just having 
opened. I kiss her cheek, then her jaw, then 
her throat, lingering there for a few seconds. 
Her hands tighten around my waist, and she 
sighs into my ear. 

My self-control is about to disappear in 
five, four, three . . . 

"Tobias," she whispers, "I hate to say this, 
but ... I think we have just a. few things to 
do today. " 

"They can wait," I say against her 
shoulder, and I kiss the first tattoo, slowly. 

"No, they can't!" she says. 

I flop back onto the cushions, and I feel 
cold without her body parallel to mine. 
"Yeah. About that— I was thinking your 
brother could use some target practice. Just 
in case." 

"That might be a good idea," she says 
quietly. "He's only fired a gun . . . what, 
once? Twice?" 

"I can teach him," I say. "If there's one 
thing I'm good at, it's aiming. And it might 
make him feel better to do something." 

"Thank you," she says. She sits up and puts 
her fingers through her hair to comb it. In 
the morning light its color looks brighter, 
like it's threaded with gold. "I know you 
don't like him, but ..." 

"But if you're going to let what he did go," I 
say, taking her hand, "then I'm going to try 
to do the same." 

She smiles, and kisses my cheek. 
I skim the lingering shower water from the 
back of my neck with my palm. Tris, Caleb, 
Christina, and I are in the training room in 
the GD area underground— it's cold and dim 
and full of equipment, training weapons and 
mats and helmets and targets, everything we 
could ever need. I select the right practice 
gun, the one about the size of a pistol, but 
bulkier, and offer it to Caleb. 

Tris's fingers slide between mine. 
Everything comes easily this morning, every 
smile and every laugh, every word and every 

If we succeed in what we attempt tonight, 
tomorrow Chicago will be safe, the Bureau 
will be forever changed, and Tris and I will 
be able to build a new life for ourselves 
somewhere. Maybe it will even be a place 
where I trade my guns and knives for more 
productive tools, screwdrivers and nails and 

shovels. This morning I feel like I could be so 
fortunate. I could. 

"It doesn't shoot real bullets," I say, "but it 
seems like they designed it so it would be as 
close as possible to one of the guns you'll be 
using. It feels real, anyway." 

Caleb holds the gun with just his finger- 
tips, like he's afraid it will shatter in his 

I laugh. "First lesson: Don't be afraid of it. 
Grab it. You've held one before, remember? 
You got us out of the Amity compound with 
that shot." 

"That was just lucky," Caleb says, turning 
the gun over and over to see it from every 
angle. His tongue pushes into his cheek like 
he's solving a problem. "Not the result of 

"Lucky is better than unlucky," I say. "We 
can work on skill now." 

I glance at Tris. She grins at me, then leans 
in to whisper something to Christina. 

"Are you here to help or what, Stiff?" I say. 
I hear myself speaking in the voice I cultiv- 
ated as an initiation instructor, but this time 
I use it in jest. "You could use some practice 
with that right arm, if I recall correctly. You 
too, Christina." 

Tris makes a face at me, then she and 
Christina cross the room to get their own 

"Okay, now face the target and turn the 
safety off," I say. There is a target across the 
room, more sophisticated than the wooden- 
board target in the Dauntless training rooms. 
It has three rings in three different colors, 
green, yellow, and red, so it's easier to tell 
where the bullets hit. "Let me see how you 
would naturally shoot." 

He lifts up the gun with one hand, squares 
off his feet and shoulders to the target like 
he's about to lift something heavy, and fires. 
The gun jerks back and up, firing the bullet 

near the ceiling. I cover my mouth with my 
hand to disguise my smile. 

"There's no need to giggle," Caleb says 

"Book learning doesn't teach you 
everything, does it?" Christina says. "You 
have to hold it with both hands. It doesn't 
look as cool, but neither does attacking the 

"I wasn't trying to look cool!" 

Christina stands, her legs slightly uneven, 
and lifts both arms. She stares at the target 
for a moment, then fires. The training bullet 
hits the outer circle of the target and bounces 
off, rolling on the floor. It leaves a circle of 
light on the target, marking the impact site. I 
wish I'd had this technology during initiation 

"Oh, good," I say. "You hit the air around 
your target's body. How useful." 

"I'm a little rusty," Christina admits, 

"I think the easiest way for you to learn 
would be to mimic me," I say to Caleb. I 
stand the way I always stand, easy, natural, 
and lift both my arms, squeezing the gun 
with one hand and steadying it with the 

Caleb tries to match me, beginning with 
his feet and moving up with the rest of him. 
As eager as Christina was to tease him, it's 
his ability to analyze that makes him suc- 
cessful— I can see him changing angles and 
distances and tension and release as he looks 
me over, trying to get everything right. 

"Good," I say when he's finished. "Now fo- 
cus on what you're trying to hit, and nothing 

I stare at the center of the target and try to 
let it swallow me. The distance doesn't 
trouble me— the bullet will travel straight, 
just like it would if I was closer. I inhale and 
brace myself, exhale and fire, and the bullet 

goes right where I meant to put it: in the red 
circle, in the center of the target. 

I step back to watch Caleb try it. He has 
the right way of standing, the right way of 
holding the gun, but he is rigid there, a 
statue with a gun in hand. He sucks in a 
breath and holds it as he fires. This time the 
kickback doesn't startle him as much, and 
the bullet nicks the top of the target. 

"Good," I say again. "I think what you 
mostly need is to get comfortable with it. 
You're very tense." 

"Can you blame me?" he says. His voice 
trembles, but just at the end of each word. 
He has the look of someone who is trapping 
terror inside. I watched two classes of initi- 
ates with that expression, but none of them 
was ever facing what Caleb is facing now. 

I shake my head and say quietly, "Of 
course not. But you have to realize that if you 
can't let that tension go tonight, you might 

not make it to the Weapons Lab, and what 
good would that do anyone?" 
He sighs. 

"The physical technique is important," I 
say. "But it's mostly a mental game, which is 
lucky for you, because you know how to play 
those. You don't just practice the shooting, 
you also practice the focus. And then, when 
you're in a situation where you're fighting for 
your life, the focus will be so ingrained that it 
will happen naturally." 

"I didn't know the Dauntless were so inter- 
ested in training the brain," Caleb says. "Can 
I see you try it, Tris? I don't think I've ever 
really seen you shoot something without a 
bullet wound in your shoulder." 

Tris smiles a little and faces the target. 
When I first saw her shoot during Dauntless 
training, she looked awkward, birdlike. But 
her thin, fragile form has become slim but 
muscular, and when she holds the gun, it 
looks easy. She squints one eye a little, shifts 

her weight, and fires. Her bullet strays from 
the target's center, but only by inches. Obvi- 
ously impressed, Caleb raises his eyebrows. 

"Don't look so surprised!" Tris says. 

"Sorry," he says. "I just . . . you used to be 
so clumsy, remember? I don't know how I 
missed that you weren't like that anymore." 

Tris shrugs, but when she looks away, her 
cheeks are flushed and she looks pleased. 
Christina shoots again, and this time hits the 
target closer to the middle. 

I step back to let Caleb practice, and watch 
Tris fire again, watch the straight lines of her 
body as she lifts the gun, and how steady she 
is when it goes off. I touch her shoulder and 
lean in close to her ear. "Remember during 
training, how the gun almost hit you in the 

She nods, smirking. 

"Remember during training, when I did 
this?" I say, and I reach around her to press 

my hand to her stomach. She sucks in a 

"I'm not likely to forget that anytime 
soon," she mutters. 

She twists around and draws my face to- 
ward hers, her fingertips on my chin. We 
kiss, and I hear Christina say something 
about it, but for the first time, I don't care at 

There isn't much to do after target prac- 
tice but wait. Tris and Christina get the ex- 
plosives from Reggie and teach Caleb how to 
use them. Then Matthew and Cara pore over 
a map, examining different routes to get 
through the compound to the Weapons Lab. 
Christina and I meet with Amar, George, and 
Peter to go over the route we're going to take 
through the city that evening. Tris is called to 
a last-minute council meeting. Matthew in- 
oculates people against the memory serum 
all throughout the day, Cara and Caleb and 
Tris and Nita and Reggie and himself. 

There isn't enough time to think about the 
significance of what we're going to try to do: 
stop a revolution, save the experiments, 
change the Bureau forever. 

While Tris is gone, I go to the hospital to 
see Uriah one last time before I bring his 
family back to him. 

When I get there, I can't go in. From here, 
through the glass, I can pretend that he is 
just asleep, and that if I touched him, he 
would wake up and smile and make a joke. 
In there, I would be able to see how lifeless 
he is now, how the shock to his brain took 
the last parts of him that were Uriah. 

I squeeze my hands into fists to disguise 
their shaking. 

Matthew approaches from the end of the 
hallway, his hands in the pockets of his dark 
blue uniform. His gait is relaxed, his foot- 
steps heavy. "Hey." 

"Hi," I say. 

"I was just inoculating Nita," he says. 
"She's in better spirits today." 

Matthew taps the glass with his knuckles. 
"So . . . you're going to go get his family 
later? That's what Tris told 

I nod. "His brother and his mom." 

I've met Zeke and Uriah's mother before. 
She is a small woman with power in her 
bearing, and one of the rare Dauntless who 
goes about things quietly and without cere- 
mony. I liked her and I was afraid of her at 
the same time. 

"No dad?" Matthew says. 

"Died when they were young. Not surpris- 
ing, among the Dauntless." 


We stand in silence for a little while, and 
I'm grateful for his presence, which keeps me 
from being overwhelmed by grief. I know 
that Cara was right yesterday to tell me that I 

didn't kill Uriah, not really, but it still feels 
like I did, and maybe it always will. 

"I've been meaning to ask you," I say after 
a while. "Why are you helping us with this? It 
seems like a big risk for someone who isn't 
personally invested in the outcome." 

"I am, though," Matthew says. "It's sort of 
along story." 

He crosses his arms, then tugs at the string 
around his throat with his thumb. 

"There was this girl," he says. "She was ge- 
netically damaged, and that meant I wasn't 
supposed to go out with her, right? We're 
supposed to make sure that we match 
ourselves with 'optimal' partners, so we pro- 
duce genetically superior offspring, or 
something. Well I was feeling rebellious, and 
there was something appealing about how 
forbidden it was, so she and I started dating. 
I never meant for it to become anything seri- 
ous, but ..." 

"But it did," I supply. 

He nods. "It did. She, more than anything 
else, convinced me that the compound's pos- 
ition on genetic damage was twisted. She was 
a better person than I was, than I'll ever be. 
And then she got attacked. A bunch of GPs 
beat her up. She had kind of a smart mouth, 
she was never content to just stay where she 
was— I think that had something to do with 
it, or maybe nothing did, maybe people just 
do things like that out of nowhere, and trying 
to find a reason just 
frustrates the mind." 

I look closely at the string he's toying with. 
I always thought it was black, but when I 
look closely, I see that it's actually green— the 
color of the support staff uniforms. 

"Anyway, she was injured pretty badly, but 
one of the GPs was a council member's kid. 
He claimed the attack was provoked, and 
that was the excuse they used when they let 
him and the other GPs off with some com- 
munity service, but I knew better." He starts 

nodding along with his own words. "I knew 
that they let them off because they thought of 
her as something less than them. Like if the 
GPs had beat up an animal." 

A shiver starts at the top of my spine and 
travels down my back. "What ..." 

"What happened to her?" Matthew glances 
at me. "She died a year later during a surgic- 
al procedure to fix some of the damage. It 
was a fluke— an infection." He drops his 
hands. "The day she died was the day I star- 
ted helping Nita. I didn't think her recent 
plan was a good one, though, which is why I 
didn't help out with it. But then, I also didn't 
try that hard to stop her." 

I cycle through the things you're supposed 
to say at times like these, the apologies and 
the sympathy, and I don't find a single 
phrase that feels right to me. Instead I just 
let the silence stretch out between us. It's the 
only adequate response to what he just told 
me, the only thing that does the tragedy 

justice instead of patching it up hastily and 
moving on. 

"I know it doesn't seem like it," Matthew 
says, "but I hate them." 

The muscles in his jaw stand at attention. 
He has never struck me as a warm person, 
but he's never been cold, either. That is what 
he's like now, a man encased in ice, his eyes 
hard and his voice like a frosty exhale. 

"And I would have volunteered to die in- 
stead of Caleb ... if not for the fact that I 
really want to see them suffer the repercus- 
sions. I want to watch them fumble around 
under the memory serum, not knowing who 
they are anymore, because that's what 
happened to me when she died." 

"That sounds like an adequate punish- 
ment," I say. 

"More adequate than killing them would 
be," Matthew says. "And besides, I'm not a 

I feel uneasy. It's not often you encounter 
the real person behind a goodnatured mask, 
the darkest parts of someone. It's not com- 
fortable when you do. 

"I'm sorry for what happened to Uriah," 
Matthew says. "I'll leave you with him." 

He puts his hands back in his pockets and 
continues down the hallway, his lips 
puckered in a whistle. 


more of the same: confirmation that the vir- 
uses will be dropped over the cities this even- 
ing, discussions about what planes will be 
used and at what times. David and I ex- 
change friendly words when the meeting is 
over, and then I slip out while the others are 
still sipping coffee and walk back to the 

Tobias takes me to the atrium near the 
hotel dormitory, and we spend some time 

there, talking and kissing and pointing out 
the strangest plants. It feels like something 
that normal people do— go on dates, talk 
about small things, laugh. We have had so 
few of those moments. Most of our time to- 
gether has been spent running from one 
threat or another, or running toward one 
threat or another. But I can see a time on the 
horizon when that won't need to happen 
anymore. We will reset the people in the 
compound, and work to rebuild this place to- 
gether. Maybe then we can find out if we do 
as well with the quiet moments as we have 
with the loud ones. 
I am looking forward to it. 

Finally the time comes for Tobias to leave. 
I stand on the higher step in the atrium and 
he stands on the lower one, so we're on the 
same plane. 

"I don't like that I can't be with you to- 
night," he says. "It doesn't feel right to leave 
you alone with something this huge." 

"What, you don't think I can handle it?" I 
say, a little defensive. 

"Obviously that is not what I think." He 
touches his hands to my face and leans his 
forehead against mine. "I just don't want you 
to have to bear it alone." 

"I don't want you to have to bear Uriah's 
family alone," I say softly. "But I think these 
are things we have to do separately. I'm glad 
I'll get to be with Caleb before . . . you know. 
It'll be nice not having to worry about you at 
the same time." 

"Yeah." He closes his eyes. "I can't wait un- 
til tomorrow, when I'm back and you've done 
what you set out to do and we can decide 
what comes next." 

"I can tell you it will involve a lot of this," I 
say, and I press my lips to his. 

His hands shift from my cheeks to my 
shoulders and then slide painstakingly down 
my back. His fingers find the hem of my 
shirt, then slip under it, warm and insistent. 

I feel aware of everything at once, of the 
pressure of his mouth and the taste of our 
kiss and the texture of his skin and the or- 
ange light glowing against my closed eyelids 
and the smell of green things, growing 
things, in the air. When I pull away, and he 
opens his eyes, I see everything about them, 
the dart of light blue in his left eye, the dark 
blue that makes me feel like I am safe inside 
it, like I am dreaming. 

"I love you," I say. 

"I love you, too," he says. "I'll see you 

He kisses me again, softly, and then leaves 
the atrium. I stand in that shaft of sunlight 
until the sun disappears. 
It's time to be with my brother now. 


I CHECK THE screens before I go to meet 
Amar and George. Evelyn is holed up in 
Erudite headquarters with her factionless 

supporters, leaning over a map of the city. 

Marcus and Johanna are in a building on 

Michigan Avenue, north of the Hancock 

building, conducting a meeting. 

I hope that's where they both are in a 

few hours when I decide which of my parents 

to reset. Amar gave us a little over an hour to 

find and inoculate Uriah's family and get 

back to the compound unnoticed, so I only 

have time for one of them. 

Snow swirls over the pavement outside, 

floating on the wind. George offers me a gun. 

"It's dangerous in there right now," he 
says. "With all that Allegiant stuff going on." 

I take the gun without even looking at it. 

"You are all familiar with the plan?" Ge- 
orge says. "I'm going to be monitoring you 
from here, from the small control room. 
We'll see how useful I am tonight, though, 
with all this snow obscuring the cameras." 

"And where will the other security people 

"Drinking?" George shrugs. "I told them to 
take the night off. No one will notice the 
truck is gone. It'll be fine, I promise." 

Amar grins. "All right, let's pile in." 

George squeezes Amar's arm and waves at 
the rest of us. As the others follow Amar to 
the parked truck outside, I grab George and 
hold him back. He gives me a strange look. 

"Don't ask me any questions about this, 
because I won't answer them," I say. "But in- 
oculate yourself against the memory serum, 
okay? As soon as possible. Matthew can help 

He frowns at me. 

"Just do it," I say, and I go out to the truck. 

Snowflakes cling to my hair, and vapor 
curls around my mouth with each breath. 
Christina bumps into me on our way to the 
truck and slips something into my pocket. A 

I see Peter's eyes on us as I get in the 
passenger's seat. I'm still not sure why he 

was so eager to come with us, but I know I 
need to be wary of him. 

The inside of the truck is warm, and soon 
we are all covered with beads of 
water instead of snow. 

"Lucky you," Amar says. He hands me a 
glass screen with bright lines tangled across 
it like veins. I look closer and see that they 
are streets, and the brightest line traces our 
path through them. "You get to man the 

"You need a map?" I raise my eyebrows. 
"Has it not occurred to you to just . . . aim for 
the giant buildings?" 

Amar makes a face at me. "We aren't just 
driving straight into the city, we're taking a 
stealth route. Now shut up and man the 

I find a blue dot on the map that marks 
our position. Amar urges the truck into the 
snow, which falls so fast I can only see a few 
feet in front of us. 

The buildings we drive past look like dark 
figures peeking through a white shroud. 
Amar drives fast, trusting the weight of the 
truck to keep us steady. Between snowflakes, 
I see the city lights up ahead. I had forgotten 
how close we were to it, because everything 
is so different just outside its limits. 

"I can't believe we're going back," Peter 
says quietly, like he doesn't expect a 

"Me either," I say, because it's true. 

The distance the Bureau has kept from the 
rest of the world is an evil separate from the 
war they intend to wage against our memor- 
ies—more subtle, but, in its way, just as sin- 
ister. They had the capacity to help us, lan- 
guishing in our factions, but instead they let 
us fall apart. Let us die. Let us kill one anoth- 
er. Only now that we are about to destroy 
more than an acceptable level of genetic ma- 
terial are they deciding to intervene. 

We bounce back and forth in the truck as 
Amar drives over the railroad tracks, staying 
close to the high cement wall on our right. 

I look at Christina in the rearview mirror. 
Her right knee bounces fast. 

I still don't know whose memory I'm go- 
ing to take: Marcus's, or Evelyn's? Usually I 
would try to decide what 
the most selfless choice would be, but in this 
case either choice feels selfish. Resetting 
Marcus would mean erasing the man I hate 
and fear from the world. It would mean my 
freedom from his influence. 

Resetting Evelyn would mean making her 
into a new mother— one who wouldn't aban- 
don me, or make decisions out of a desire for 
revenge, or control everyone in an effort not 
to have to trust them. 

Either way, with either parent gone, I am 
better off. But what would help the city 

I no longer know. I hold my hands over the 
air vents to warm them as Amar continues to 
drive, over the railroad tracks and past the 
abandoned train car we saw on our way in, 
reflecting the headlights in its silver panels. 
We reach the place where the outside world 
ends and the experiment begins, as abrupt a 
shift as if someone had drawn a line in the 

Amar drives over that line like it isn't 
there. For him, I suppose, it has faded with 
time, as he grows more and more used to his 
new world. For me, it feels like driving from 
truth into a lie, from adulthood into child- 
hood. I watch the land of pavement and glass 
and metal turn into an empty field. The snow 
is falling softly now, and I can faintly see the 
city's skyline up ahead, the buildings just a 
shade darker than the clouds. 

"Where should we go to find Zeke?" Amar 

"Zeke and his mother joined up with the 
revolt," I say. "So wherever most of them are 
is my best bet." 

"Control room people said most of them 
have taken up residence north of the river, 
near the Hancock building," Amar says. 
"Feel like going zip lining?" 

"Absolutely not," I say. 

Amar laughs. 

It takes us another hour to get close. Only 
when I see the Hancock building in the dis- 
tance do I start to feel nervous. 

"Um . . . Amar?" Christina says from 
the back. "I hate to say this, but I really need 
to stop. And . . . you know. Pee." 

"Right now?" Amar says. 

"Yeah. It came on all of a sudden." 

He sighs, but pulls the truck over to the 
side of the road. 

"You guys stay here, and don't look!" 
Christina says as she gets out. 

I watch her silhouette move to the back of 
the truck, and wait. All I feel when she 
slashes the tires is a slight bounce in the 
truck, so small I'm sure I only felt it because 
I was waiting for it. When Christina gets 
back in, brushing snowflakes from her jack- 
et, she wears a small smile. 

Sometimes, all it takes to save people from 
a terrible fate is one person willing to do 
something about it. Even if that "something" 
is a fake bathroom break. 

Amar drives for a few more minutes before 
anything happens. Then the truck shudders 
and starts to bounce like we're going over 

"Shit," Amar says, scowling at the speedo- 
meter. "I can't believe this." 
"Flat?" I say. 

"Yeah." He sighs, and eases on the brakes 
so the car slips to a stop by the side of the 

"I'll check it," I say. I jump down from the 
passenger's seat and walk to the back of the 
truck. The back tires are completely flat, 
flayed by the knife Christina brought with 
her. I peer through the back windows to 
make sure there's only one spare tire, then 
return to my open door to give the news. 

"Both back tires are flat and we only have 
one spare," I say. "We're going to have to 
abandon the truck and get a new one." 

"Shit!" Amar smacks the steering wheel. 
"We don't have time for this. We have to 
make sure Zeke and his mother and 
Christina's family are all inoculated before 
the memory serum is released, or they'll be 

"Calm down," I say. "I know where we can 
find another vehicle. Why don't you guys 
keep going on foot and I'll go 
find something to drive?" 

Amar's expression brightens. "Good idea." 

Before moving away from the truck I make 
sure that there are bullets in my gun, even 
though I'm not sure if I'll need them. Every- 
one piles out of the truck, Amar shivering in 
the cold and bouncing on his toes. 

I check my watch. "So you need to inocu- 
late them by what time?" 

"George's schedule says we've got an hour 
before we reset the city," Amar says, check- 
ing his watch too, to make sure. "If you want 
us to spare Zeke and his mother the grief and 
let them get reset, I wouldn't blame you. I'll 
do it if you need me to." 

I shake my head. "Couldn't do that. They 
wouldn't be in pain, but it wouldn't be real." 

"As I've always said," Amar says, smiling, 
"once a Stiff, always a Stiff." 

"Can you . . . not tell them what happened? 
Just until I get there," I say. "Just inoculate 
them? I want to be the one who tells them." 

Amar's smile shrinks a little. "Sure. Of 

My shoes are already soaked through from 
checking the tires, and my feet ache when 
they touch the cold ground again. I'm about 
to walk away from the truck when Peter 
speaks up. 

"I'm coming with you," he says. 
"What? Why?" I glare at him. 

"You might need help finding a truck," he 
says. "It's a big city." 

I look at Amar, who shrugs. "Man's got a 

Peter leans in closer and speaks quietly, so 
only I can hear. "And if you don't want me to 
tell him you're planning something, you 
won't object." 

His eyes drift to my jacket pocket, where 
the memory serum is. 

I sigh. "Fine. But you do what I say." 

I watch Amar and Christina walk away 
without us, heading toward the Hancock 
building. Once they're too far away to see us, 

I take a few steps back, slipping my hand in- 
to my pocket to 
protect the vial. 

"I'm not going to look for a truck," I say. 
"You might as well know that now. Are you 
going to help me with what I'm doing, or do I 
have to shoot you?" 

"Depends what you're doing." 

It's hard to come up with an answer when 
I'm not even sure. I stand facing the Hancock 
building. To my right are the factionless, 
Evelyn, and her collection of death serum. To 
my left are the Allegiant, Marcus, and the in- 
surrection plan. 

Where do I have the greatest influence? 
Where can I make the biggest difference? 
Those are the questions I should be asking 
myself. Instead I am asking myself whose de- 
struction I am 
more desperate for. 

"I'm going to stop a revolution," I say. 

I turn right, and Peter follows me. 

MY BROTHER STANDS behind the micro- 
scope, his eye pressed to the 



eyepiece. The light in the microscope plat- 
form casts strange shadows on his face, mak- 
ing him look years older. 

"This is definitely it," he says. "The attack 
simulation serum, I mean. No question." 
"It's always good to have another 
person verify," Matthew says. 

I am standing with my brother in the 
hours before he dies. And he is analyzing ser- 
ums. It's so stupid. 

I know why Caleb wanted to come here: to 
make sure that he was giving his life for a 
good reason. I don't blame him. There are no 
second chances after you've died for 
something, at least as far as I know. 

"Tell me the activation code again," Mat- 
thew says. The activation code will enable 
the memory serum weapon, and another 

button will deploy it instantly. Matthew has 
made Caleb repeat them both every few 
minutes since we got here. 

"I have no trouble memorizing sequences 
of numbers!" Caleb says. 

"I don't doubt that. But we don't know 
what state of mind you'll be in when the 
death serum begins to take its course, and 
these codes need to be deeply ingrained." 

Caleb flinches at the words "death serum." 
I stare at my shoes. 

"080712," Caleb says. "And then I press 
the green button." 

Right now Cara is spending some time 
with the people in the control room so she 
can spike their beverages with peace serum 
and shut off the lights in the compound 
while they're too drunk to notice, just like 
Nita and Tobias did a few weeks ago. When 
she does that, we'll run for the Weapons Lab, 
unseen by the cameras in the dark. 

Sitting across from me on the lab table are 
the explosives Reggie gave us. They look so 
ordinary— inside a black box with metal 
claws on the edges and a remote detonator. 
The claws will attach the box to the second 
set of laboratory doors. The first set still 
hasn't been repaired since the attack. 

"I think that's it," Matthew says. "Now all 
we have to do is wait for a little while." 

"Matthew," I say. "Do you think you could 
leave us alone for a bit?" 

"Of course." Matthew smiles. "I'll come 
back when it's time." 

He closes the door behind him. Caleb runs 
his hands over the clean suit, the explosives, 
the backpack they go in. He puts them all in 
a straight line, fixing this corner and that 

"I keep thinking about when we were 
young and we played 'Candor,'" he says. 
"How I used to sit you down in a chair in the 

living room and ask you questions? 

"Yes," I say. I lean my hips into the lab 
table. "You used to find the pulse in my wrist 
and tell me that if I lied, you would be able to 
tell, because the Candor can always tell when 
other people are lying. It wasn't very nice." 

Caleb laughs. "That one time, you con- 
fessed to stealing a book from the school lib- 
rary just as Mom came home — " 

"And I had to go to the librarian and apo- 
logize!" I laugh too. "That librarian was aw- 
ful. She always called everyone 'young lady' 
or 'young man.'" 

"Oh, she loved me, though. Did you know 
that when I was a library volunteer and was 
supposed to be shelving books during my 
lunch hour, I was really just standing in the 
aisles and reading? She caught me a few 
times and never said anything about it." 

"Really?" I feel a twinge in my chest. "I 
didn't know that." 

"There was a lot we didn't know about 
each other, I guess." He taps his fingers on 
the table. "I wish we had been 
able to be more honest with each other." 
"Me too." 

"And it's too late now, isn't it." He looks 

"Not for everything." I pull out a chair 
from the lab table and sit in it. "Let's play 
Candor. I'll answer a question and then you 
have to answer a question. Honestly, 

He looks a little exasperated, but he plays 
along. "Okay. What did you really do to 
break those glasses in the kitchen when you 
claimed that you were taking them out to 
clean water spots off them?" 

I roll my eyes. "That's the one question you 
want an honest answer to? Come on, Caleb." 

"Okay, fine." He clears his throat, and his 
green eyes fix on mine, serious. "Have you 

really forgiven me, or are you just saying that 
you have because I'm about to die?" 

I stare at my hands, which rest in my lap. I 
have been able to be kind and pleasant to 
him because every time I think of what 
happened in Erudite headquarters, I imme- 
diately push the thought aside. But that can't 
be forgiveness— if I had forgiven him, I 
would be able to think of what happened 
without that hatred I can feel in my gut, 

Or maybe forgiveness is just the continual 
pushing aside of bitter memories, until time 
dulls the hurt and the anger, and the wrong 
is forgotten. 

For Caleb's sake, I choose to believe the 

"Yes, I have," I say. I pause. "Or at least, I 
desperately want to, and I think that might 
be the same thing." 

He looks relieved. I step aside so he can 
take my place in the chair. I know what I 

want to ask him, and have since he volun- 
teered to make this sacrifice. 

"What is the biggest reason that you're do- 
ing this?" I say. "The most important one?" 

"Don't ask me that, Beatrice." 

"It's not a trap," I say. "It won't make me 
un-forgive you. I just need to know." 

Between us are the clean suit, the explos- 
ives, and the backpack, arranged in a line on 
the brushed steel. They are the instruments 
of his going and not coming back. 

"I guess I feel like it's the only way I can 
escape the guilt for all the things I've done," 
he says. "I've never wanted anything more 
than I want to be rid of it." 

His words ache inside me. I was afraid he 
would say that. I knew he would say that all 
along. I wish he hadn't said it. 

A voice speaks through the intercom in the 
corner. "Attention all compound residents. 
Commence emergency lockdown procedure, 
effective until five o'clock a.m. I repeat, 

commence emergency lockdown procedure, 
effective until five o'clock a.m." 

Caleb and I exchange an alarmed look. 
Matthew shoves the door open. 

"Shit," he says. And then, louder: "Shit!" 

"Emergency lockdown?" I say. "Is that the 
same as an attack drill?" 

"Basically. It means we have to go now, 
while there's still chaos in the hallways and 
before they increase security," Matthew says. 

"Why would they do this?" Caleb says. 

"Could be they just want to increase secur- 
ity before releasing the viruses," Matthew 
says. "Or it could be that they figured out 
we're going to try something —only, if they 
knew that, they probably would have come to 
arrest us." 

I look at Caleb. The minutes I had left with 
him fall away like dead leaves pulled from 

I cross the room and retrieve our guns 
from the counter, but itching at the back of 

my mind is what Tobias said yesterday— that 
the Abnegation say you should only let 
someone sacrifice himself for you if it's the 
ultimate way for them to show they love you. 

And for Caleb, that's not what this is. 
MY FEET SLIP on the snowy pavement. 

"You didn't inoculate yourself yesterday," I 
say to Peter. 

"No, I didn't," Peter says. 

"Why not?" 

"Why should I tell you?" 

I run my thumb over the vial and say, "You 
came with me because you know I have the 
memory serum, right? If you want me to give 
it to you, it couldn't hurt to give me a 

He looks at my pocket again, like he did 
earlier. He must have seen Christina give it 
to me. He says, "I'd rather just take it from 

"Please." I lift my eyes up, to watch the 
snow spilling over the edges of the buildings. 
It's dark, but the moon provides just enough 
light to see by. "You might think you're 
pretty good at fighting, but you aren't good 
enough to beat me, I promise you." 

Without warning he shoves me, hard, and 
I slip on the snowy ground and fall. My gun 
clatters to the ground, half buried in the 
snow. That'll teach me to get cocky, I think, 
and I scramble to my feet. He grabs my col- 
lar and yanks me forward so I slide again, 
only this time I keep my balance and elbow 
him in the stomach. He kicks me hard in the 
leg, making it go numb, and grabs the front 
of my jacket to pull me toward him. 

His hand fumbles for my pocket, where the 
serum is. I try to push him away, but his 
footing is too sure and my leg is still too 
numb. With a groan of frustration, I bring 
my free arm back by my face and slam my el- 
bow into his mouth. Pain spreads through 

my arm— it hurts to hit someone in the 
teeth— but it was worth it. He yells, sliding 
back onto the street, his face clutched in both 

"You know why you won fights as an initi- 
ate?" I say as I get to my feet. "Because 
you're cruel. Because you like to hurt people. 
And you think you're special, you think 
everyone around you is a bunch of sissies 
who can't make the tough choices like you 

He starts to get up, and I kick him in the 
side so he goes sprawling again. Then I press 
my foot to his chest, right under his throat, 
and our eyes meet, his wide and innocent 
and nothing like what's inside him. 

"You are not special," I say. "I like to hurt 
people too. I can make the cruelest choice. 
The difference is, sometimes I don't, and you 
always do, 

and that makes you evil." 

I step over him and start down Michigan 
Avenue again. But before I take more than a 
few steps, I hear his voice. 

"That's why I want it," he says, his voice 

I stop. I don't turn around. I don't want to 
see his face right now. 

"I want the serum because I'm sick of be- 
ing this way," he says. "I'm sick of doing bad 
things and liking it and then wondering 
what's wrong with me. I want it to be over. I 
want to start again." 

"And you don't think that's the coward's 
way out?" I say over my shoulder. 

"I think I don't care if it is or not," 
Peter says. 

I feel the anger that was swelling within 
me deflate as I turn the vial over in my fin- 
gers, inside my pocket. I hear him get to his 
feet and brush the snow from his clothes. 

"Don't try to mess with me again," I say, 
"and I promise I'll let you reset yourself, 

when all this is said and done. I have no 
reason not to." 

He nods, and we continue through the un- 
marked snow to the building where I last saw 
my mother. 


THERE IS A nervous kind of quiet in the 
hallway, though there are people every- 
where. One woman bumps me with her 
shoulder and then mutters an apology, and I 
move closer to Caleb so I don't lose sight of 
him. Sometimes all I want is to be a few 
inches taller so the world does not look like a 
dense collection of torsos. 

We move quickly, but not too quickly. The 
more security guards I see, the more pres- 
sure I feel building inside me. Caleb's back- 
pack, with the clean suit and explosives in- 
side it, bounces against his lower back as we 
walk. People are moving in all different 

directions, but soon, we will reach a hallway 
that no one has any reason to walk down. 

"I think something must have happened to 
Cara," Matthew says. "The lights were sup- 
posed to be off by now." 

I nod. I feel the gun digging into my back, 
disguised by my baggy shirt. I had hoped 
that I wouldn't have to use it, but it seems 
that I will, and even then it might not be 
enough to get us to the Weapons Lab. 

I touch Caleb's arm, and Matthew's, stop- 
ping all three of us in the middle of the 

"I have an idea," I say. "We split up. Caleb 
and I will run to the lab, and Matthew, cause 
some kind of diversion." 

"A diversion?" 

"You have a gun, don't you?" I say. "Fire 
into the air." 
He hesitates. 

"Do it," I say through gritted teeth. 

Matthew takes his gun out. I grab Caleb's 
elbow and steer him down the hallway. Over 
my shoulder I watch Matthew lift the gun 
over his head and fire straight up, at one of 
the glass panels above him. At the sharp 
bang, I burst into a run, dragging Caleb with 
me. Screams and shattering glass fill the air, 
and security guards run past us without noti- 
cing that we are running away from the 
dormitories, running toward a place we 
should not be. 

It's a strange thing to feel my instincts and 
Dauntless training kick in. My breathing be- 
comes deeper, more even, as we follow the 
route we determined this morning. My mind 
feels sharper, clearer. I look at Caleb, expect- 
ing to see the same thing happening to him, 
but all the blood seems to have drained from 
his face, and he is gasping. I keep my hand 
firm on his 
elbow to steady him. 

We round a corner, shoes squeaking on the 
tile, and an empty hallway with a mirrored 
ceiling stretches out in front of us. I feel a 
surge of triumph. I know this place. We 
aren't far now. We're going to make it. 

"Stop!" a voice shouts from behind me. 

The security guards. They found us. 

"Stop or we'll shoot!" 

Caleb shudders and lifts his hands. I lift 
mine, too, and look at him. 

I feel everything slowing down inside me, 
my racing thoughts and the pounding of my 

When I look at him, I don't see the cow- 
ardly young man who sold me out to Jeanine 
Matthews, and I don't hear the excuses he 
gave afterward. 

When I look at him, I see the boy who held 
my hand in the hospital when our mother 
broke her wrist and told me it would be all 
right. I see the brother who told me to make 
my own choices, the night before the 

Choosing Ceremony. I think of all the re- 
markable things he is —smart and enthusi- 
astic and observant, quiet and earnest and 

He is a part of me, always will be, and I am 
a part of him, too. I don't belong to Abnega- 
tion, or Dauntless, or even the Divergent. I 
don't belong to the Bureau or the experiment 
or the fringe. I belong to the people I love, 
and they belong to me— they, and the love 
and loyalty I give them, form my identity far 
more than any word or group ever could. 

I love my brother. I love him, and he is 
quaking with terror at the thought of death. I 
love him and all I can think, all I can hear in 
my mind, are the words I said to him a few 
days ago: I would never deliver you to your 
own execution. 

"Caleb," I say. "Give me the backpack." 

"What?" he says. 

I slip my hand under the back of my shirt 
and grab my gun. I point it at him. "Give me 
the backpack." 

"Tris, no." He shakes his head. "No, I won't 
let you do that." 

"Put down your weapon!" the guard 
screams at the end of the hallway. "Put down 
your weapon or we will fire!" 

"I might survive the death serum," I say. 
"I'm good at fighting off serums. There's a 
chance I'll survive. There's no chance you 
would survive. Give me the backpack or I'll 
shoot you in the leg and take it from you." 

Then I raise my voice so the guards can 
hear me. "He's my hostage! Come any closer 
and I'll kill him!" 

In that moment he reminds me of our 
father. His eyes are tired and sad. There's a 
shadow of a beard on his chin. His hands 
shake as he pulls the backpack to the front of 
his body and offers it to 

I take it and swing it over my shoulder. I 
keep my gun pointed at him and shift so he's 
blocking my view of the soldiers at the end of 
the hallway. 

"Caleb," I say, "I love you." 

His eyes gleam with tears as he says, "I 
love you, too, Beatrice." 

"Get down on the floor!" I yell, for the be- 
nefit of the guards. 

Caleb sinks to his knees. 

"If I don't survive," I say, "tell Tobias I 
didn't want to leave him." 

I back up, aiming over Caleb's shoulder at 
one of the security guards. I inhale and 
steady my hand. I exhale and fire. I hear a 
pained yell, and sprint in the other direction 
with the sound of gunfire in my ears. I run a 
crooked path so it's harder to hit me, and 
then dive around the corner. A bullet hits the 
wall right behind me, putting a hole in it. 

As I run, I swing the backpack around my 
body and open the zipper. I take out the 

explosives and the detonator. There are 
shouts and running footsteps behind me. I 
don't have any time. I don't have any time. 

I run harder, faster than I thought I could. 
The impact of each footstep shudders 
through me and I turn the next corner, 
where there are two guards standing by the 
doors Nita and the invaders broke. Clutching 
the explosives and detonator to my chest 
with my free hand, I shoot one guard in the 
leg and the other in the chest. 

The one I shot in the leg reaches for his 
gun, and I fire again, closing my eyes after I 
aim. He doesn't move again. 

I run past the broken doors and into the 
hallway between them. I slam the explosives 
against the metal bar where the two doors 
join, and clamp down the claws around the 
edge of the bar so it will stay. Then I run 
back to the end of the hallway and around 
the corner and crouch, my back to the doors, 

as I press the detonation button and shield 
my ears with my palms. 

The noise vibrates in my bones as the 
small bomb detonates, and the force of the 
blast throws me sideways, my gun sliding 
across the floor. Pieces of glass and metal 
spray through the air, falling to the floor 
where I lie, stunned. Even though I sealed off 
my ears with my hands, I still hear ringing 
when I take them away, and I feel unsteady 
on my feet. 

At the end of the hallway, the guards have 
caught up with me. They fire, and a bullet 
hits me in the fleshy part of my arm. I 
scream, clapping my hand over the wound, 
and my vision goes spotty at the edges as I 
throw myself around the corner again, half 
walking and half stumbling to the blasted- 
open doors. 

Beyond them is a small vestibule with a set 
of sealed, lockless doors at the other end. 
Through the windows in those doors I see 

the Weapons Lab, the even rows of ma- 
chinery and dark devices and serum vials, lit 
from beneath like they're on display. I hear a 
spraying sound and know that the death ser- 
um is floating through the air, but the guards 
are behind me, and I don't have time to put 
on the suit that will delay its effects. 

I also know, I just know, that I can survive 

I step into the vestibule. 


this building will always be Erudite 
headquarters to me, no matter what hap- 
pens—stands silent in the snow, with noth- 
ing but glowing windows to signal that there 
are people inside. I stop in front of the doors 
and make a disgruntled sound in my throat. 
"What?" Peter says. 
"I hate it here," I say. 

He pushes his hair, soaked from the snow, 
out of his eyes. "So what are we going to do, 
break a window? Look for a back door?" 

"I'm just going to walk in," I say. "I'm her 

"You also betrayed her and left the city 
when she forbade anyone from doing that," 
he says, "and she sent people after you to 
stop you. People with guns." 

"You can stay here if you want," I say. 

"Where the serum goes, I go," he says. 
"But if you get shot at, I'm going to grab it 
and run." 

"I don't expect anything more." 
He is a strange sort of person. 

I walk into the lobby, where someone reas- 
sembled the portrait of Jeanine Matthews, 
but they drew an X over each of her eyes in 
red paint and wrote "Faction scum" across 
the bottom. 

Several people wearing factionless arm- 
bands advance on us with guns held high. 

Some of them I recognize from across the 
factionless warehouse campfires, or from the 
time I spent at Evelyn's side as a Dauntless 
leader. Others are complete strangers, re- 
minding me that the factionless population 
is larger than any of us suspected. 

I put up my hands. "I'm here to see 

"Sure," one of them says. "Because we just 
let anyone in who wants to see her." 

"I have a message from the people out- 
side," I say. "One I'm sure she would like to 

"Tobias?" a factionless woman says. I re- 
cognize her, but not from a factionless ware- 
house—from the Abnegation sector. She was 
my neighbor. Grace is her name. 

"Hello, Grace," I say. "I just want to talk to 
my mom." 

She bites the inside of her cheek and con- 
siders me. Her grip on her pistol falters. 

"Well, we're still not supposed to let anyone 

"For God's sake," Peter says. "Go tell her 
we're here and see what she says, then! We 
can wait." 

Grace backs up into the crowd that 
gathered as we were talking, then lowers her 
gun and jogs down a nearby hallway. 

We stand for what feels like a long time, 
until my shoulders ache from supporting my 
arms. Then Grace returns and beckons to us. 
I lower my hands as the others lower their 
guns, and walk into the foyer, passing 
through the center of the crowd like a piece 
of thread through the eye of a needle. She 
leads us into an elevator. 

"What are you doing holding a gun, 
Grace?" I say. I've never known an Abnega- 
tion to pick up a weapon. 

"No faction customs anymore," she says. 
"Now I get to defend myself. I get to have a 
sense of self-preservation." 

"Good," I say, and I mean it. Abnegation 
was just as broken as the other factions, but 
its evils were less obvious, cloaked as they 
were in the guise of selflessness. But requir- 
ing a person to disappear, to fade into the 
background wherever they go, is no better 
than encouraging them to punch one 

We go up to the floor where Jeanine's ad- 
ministrative office was— but that's not where 
Grace takes us. Instead she leads us to a 
large meeting room with tables, couches, and 
chairs arranged in strict squares. Huge win- 
dows along the back wall let in the moon- 
light. Evelyn sits at a table on the right, star- 
ing out the window. 

"You can go, Grace," Evelyn says. "You 
have a message for me, Tobias?" 

She doesn't look at me. Her thick hair is 
tied back in a knot, and she wears a gray 
shirt with a factionless armband over it. She 
looks exhausted. 

"Mind waiting in the hallway?" I say to 
Peter, and to my surprise, he doesn't argue. 
He just walks out, closing the door behind 

My mother and I are alone. 

"The people outside have no 
messages for us," I say, moving closer to her. 
"They wanted to take away the memories of 
everyone in this city. They believe there is no 
reasoning with us, no appealing to our better 
natures. They decided it would be easier to 
erase us than to speak with us." 

"Maybe they're right," Evelyn says. Finally 
she turns to me, resting her cheekbone 
against her clasped hands. She has an empty 
circle tattooed on one of her fingers like a 
wedding band. "What is it you came here to 
do, then?" 

I hesitate, my hand on the vial in my pock- 
et. I look at her, and I can see the way time 
has worn through her like an old piece of 
cloth, the fibers exposed and fraying. And I 

can see the woman I knew as a child, too, the 
mouth that stretched into a smile, the eyes 
that sparkled with joy. But the longer I look 
at her, the more convinced I am that that 
happy woman never existed. That woman is 
just a pale version of my real mother, viewed 
through the self-centered eyes of a child. 

I sit down across from her at the table and 
put the vial of memory serum between us. 

"I came to make you drink this," I say. 

She looks at the vial, and I think I see tears 
in her eyes, but it could just be the light. 

"I thought it was the only way to prevent 
total destruction," I say. "I know that Marcus 
and Johanna and their people are going to 
attack, and I know that you will do whatever 
it takes to stop them, including using that 
death serum you possess to its best advant- 
age." I tilt my head. "Am I wrong?" 

"No," she says. "The factions are evil. They 
cannot be restored. I would sooner see us all 

Her hand squeezes the edge of the table, 
the knuckles pale. 

"The reason the factions were evil is be- 
cause there was no way out of them," I say. 
"They gave us the illusion of choice without 
actually giving us a choice. That's the same 
thing you're doing here, by abolishing them. 
You're saying, go make choices. But make 
sure they aren't factions or I'll grind you to 

"If you thought that, why didn't you tell 
me?" she says, her voice louder and her eyes 
avoiding mine, avoiding me. "Tell me, in- 
stead of betraying me?" 

"Because I'm afraid of you!" The words 
burst out, and I regret them but I'm also glad 
they're there, glad that before I ask her to 
give up her identity, I can at least be honest 
with her. "You . . . you remind me of him!" 

"Don't you dare." She clenches her hands 
into fists and almost spits at me, "Don't you 

"I don't care if you don't want to hear it," I 
say, coming to my feet. "He was a tyrant in 
our house and now you're a tyrant in this 
city, and you can't even see that it's the 

"So that's why you brought this," she says, 
and she wraps her hand around the vial, 
holding it up to look at it. "Because you think 
this is the only way to mend things." 

"I ..." I am about to say that it's the easiest 
way, the best way, maybe the only way that I 
can trust her. 

If I erase her memories, I can create for 
myself a new mother, but. 

But she is more than my mother. She is a 
person in her own right, and she does not be- 
long to me. 

I do not get to choose what she becomes 
just because I can't deal with who she is. 

"No," I say. "No, I came to give you a 

I feel suddenly terrified, my hands numb, 
my heart beating fast— 

"I thought about going to see Marcus to- 
night, but I didn't." I swallow hard. "I came 
to see you instead because . . . because I 
think there's a hope of reconciliation 
between us. Not now, not soon, but someday. 
And with him there's no hope, there's no re- 
conciliation possible." 

She stares at me, her eyes fierce but 
welling up with tears. 

"It's not fair for me to give you this 
choice," I say. "But I have to. You can lead 
the factionless, you can fight the Allegiant, 
but you'll have to do it without me, forever. 
Or you can let this crusade go, and . . . and 
you'll have your son back." 

It's a feeble offer and I know it, which is 
why I'm afraid— afraid that she will refuse to 
choose, that she will choose power over me, 
that she will call me a ridiculous child, which 

is what I am. I am a child. I am two feet tall 
and asking her how much she loves me. 

Evelyn's eyes, dark as wet earth, search 
mine for a long time. 

Then she reaches across the table and pulls 
me fiercely into her arms, which form a wire 
cage around me, 
surprisingly strong. 

"Let them have the city and everything in 
it," she says into my hair. 

I can't move, can't speak. She chose me. 
She chose me. 



THE DEATH SERUM smells like smoke and 
spice, and my lungs reject it with the first 
breath I take. I cough and splutter, and I am 
swallowed by darkness. 

I crumple to my knees. My body feels like 
someone has replaced my blood with 
molasses, and my bones with lead. An invis- 
ible thread tugs me toward sleep, but I want 

to be awake. It is important that I want to be 
awake. I imagine that wanting, that desire, 
burning in my chest like a flame. 

The thread tugs harder, and I stoke the 
flame with names. Tobias. Caleb. Christina. 
Matthew. Cara. Zeke. Uriah. 

But I can't bear up under the serum's 
weight. My body falls to the side, and my 
wounded arm presses to the cold ground. I 
am drifting. . . . 

It would be nice to float away, a voice in 
my head says. To see where I will go . . . 

But the fire, the fire. 

The desire to live. 

I am not done yet, I am not. 

I feel like I am digging through my own 
mind. It is difficult to remember why I came 
here and why I care about unburdening my- 
self from this beautiful weight. But then my 
scratching hands find it, the memory of my 
mother's face, and the strange angles of her 

limbs on the pavement, and the blood seep- 
ing from my father's body. 

But they are dead, the voice says. You 
could join them. 

They died for me, I answer. And now I 
have something to do, in return. I have to 
stop other people from losing everything. I 
have to save the city and the people my 
mother and father loved. 

If I go to join my parents, I want to carry 
with me a good reason, not this— this sense- 
less collapsing at the 

The fire, the fire. It rages within, a camp- 
fire and then an inferno, and my body is its 
fuel. I feel it racing through me, eating away 
at the weight. There is nothing that can kill 
me now; I am powerful and invincible and 

I feel the serum clinging to my skin like oil, 
but the darkness recedes. I slap a heavy hand 
over the floor and push myself up. 

Bent at the waist, I shove my shoulder into 
the double doors, and they squeak across the 
floor as their seal breaks. I breathe clean air 
and stand up straighter. I am there, I am 

But I am not alone. 

"Don't move," David says, raising 
his gun. "Hello, Tris." 

"HOW DID YOU inoculate yourself against 
the death serum?" he asks me. He's still sit- 
ting in his wheelchair, but you don't need to 
be able to walk to fire a gun. 

I blink at him, still dazed. 

"I didn't," I say. 

"Don't be stupid," David says. "You can't 
survive the death serum without an inocula- 
tion, and I'm the only person in the com- 
pound who possesses that substance." 

I just stare at him, not sure what to say. I 
didn't inoculate myself. The fact that I'm still 

standing upright is impossible. There's noth- 
ing more to add. 

"I suppose it no longer matters," he says. 
"We're here now." 

"What are you doing here?" I mumble. My 
lips feel awkwardly large, hard to talk 
around. I still feel that oily heaviness on my 
skin, like death is clinging to me even though 
I have defeated it. 

I am dimly aware that I left my own gun in 
the hallway behind me, sure I wouldn't need 
it if I made it this far. 

"I knew something was going on," David 
says. "You've been running around with ge- 
netically damaged people all week, Tris, did 
you think I wouldn't notice?" He shakes his 
head. "And then your friend Cara was caught 
trying to manipulate the lights, but she very 
wisely knocked herself out before she could 
tell us anything. So I came here, just in case. 
I'm sad to say I'm not surprised to see you." 

"You came here alone?" I say. "Not very 
smart, are you?" 

His bright eyes squint a little. "Well, you 
see, I have death serum resistance and a 
weapon, and you have no way to fight me. 
There's no way you can steal four virus 
devices while I have you at gunpoint. I'm 
afraid you've come all this way for no reason, 
and it will be at the expense of your life. The 
death serum may not have killed you, but I 
am going to. I'm sure you understand— offi- 
cially we don't allow capital punishment, but 
I can't have you surviving this." 

He thinks I'm here to steal the weapons 
that will reset the experiments, not deploy 
one of them. Of course he does. 

I try to guard my expression, though I'm 
sure it's still slack. I sweep my eyes across 
the room, searching for the device that will 
release the memory serum virus. I was there 
when Matthew described it to Caleb in 
painstaking detail earlier: a black box with a 

silver keypad, marked with a strip of blue 
tape with a model number written on it. It is 
one of the only items on the counter along 
the left wall, just a few feet away from me. 
But I can't move, or else he'll kill me. 

I'll have to wait for the right moment, and 
do it fast. 

"I know what you did," I say. I start to back 
up, hoping that the accusation will distract 
him. "I know you designed the attack simula- 
tion. I know you're responsible for my par- 
ents' deaths— for my mother's death. I 

"I am not responsible for her death!" 
David says, the words bursting from him, too 
loud and too sudden. "I told her what was 
coming just before the attack began, so she 
had enough time to escort her loved ones to a 
safe house. If she had stayed put, she would 
have lived. But she was a foolish woman who 
didn't understand making sacrifices for the 
greater good, and it killed her!" 

I frown at him. There's something about 
his reaction— about the glassiness of his 
eyes— something that he mumbled when 
Nita shot him with the fear serum 
—something about her. 

"Did you love her?" I say. "All those years 
she was sending you correspondence . . . the 
reason you never wanted her to stay there . . . 
the reason you told her you couldn't read her 
updates anymore, after she married my 

David sits still, like a statue, like a man of 

"I did," he says. "But that time is past." 

That must be why he welcomed me into 
his circle of trust, why he gave me so many 
opportunities. Because I am a piece of her, 
wearing her hair and speaking with her 
voice. Because he has spent his life grasping 
at her and coming up with nothing. 

I hear footsteps in the hallway outside. The 
soldiers are coming. Good —I need them to. I 

need them to be exposed to the airborne ser- 
um, to pass it on to the rest of the com- 
pound. I hope they wait until the air is clear 
of death serum. 

"My mother wasn't a fool," I say. "She just 
understood something you didn't. That it's 
not sacrifice if it's someone else's life you're 
giving away, it's just evil." 

I back up another step and say, "She 
taught me all about real sacrifice. That it 
should be done from love, not misplaced dis- 
gust for another person's genetics. That it 
should be done from necessity, not without 
exhausting all other options. That it should 
be done for people who need your strength 
because they don't have enough of their own. 
That's why I need to stop you from 'sacrifi- 
cing' all those people and their memories. 
Why I need to rid the world of you once and 
for all." 

I shake my head. 

"I didn't come here to steal anything, 

I twist and lunge toward the device. The 
gun goes off and pain races through my 
body. I don't even know where the bullet hit 

I can still hear Caleb repeating the code for 
Matthew. With a quaking hand I type in the 
numbers on the keypad. 

The gun goes off again. 

More pain, and black edges on my vision, 
but I hear Caleb's voice speaking 
again. The green button. 
So much pain. 

But how, when my body feels so numb? 

I start to fall, and slam my hand into the 
keypad on my way down. A light turns on be- 
hind the green button. 

I hear a beep, and a churning sound. 

I slide to the floor. I feel something warm 
on my neck, and under my cheek. Red. Blood 
is a strange color. Dark. 

From the corner of my eye, I see David 
slumped over in his chair. 

And my mother walking out from behind 

She is dressed in the same clothes she 
wore the last time I saw her, Abnegation 
gray, stained with her blood, with bare arms 
to show her tattoo. There are still bullet holes 
in her shirt; through them I can see her 
wounded skin, red but no longer bleeding, 
like she's frozen in time. Her dull blond hair 
is tied back in a knot, but a few loose strands 
frame her face in gold. 

I know she can't be alive, but I don't know 
if I'm seeing her now because I'm delirious 
from the blood loss or if the death serum has 
addled my thoughts or if she is here in some 
other way. 

She kneels next to me and touches a cool 
hand to my cheek. 
"Hello, Beatrice," she says, and she smiles. 

"Am I done yet?" I say, and I'm not sure if 
I actually say it or if I just think it and she 
hears it. 

"Yes," she says, her eyes bright with tears. 
"My dear child, you've done so well." 

"What about the others?" I choke on a sob 
as the image of Tobias comes into my mind, 
of how dark and how still his eyes were, how 
strong and warm his hand was, when we first 
stood face-toface. "Tobias, Caleb, my 

"They'll care for each other," she says. 
"That's what people do." 

I smile and close my eyes. 

I feel a thread tugging me again, but this 
time I know that it isn't some sinister force 
dragging me toward death. 

This time I know it's my mother's 
hand, drawing me into her arms. And I go 
gladly into her embrace. 
Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get 

I want to be. 
I can. 

I believe it. 

EVELYN BRUSHES THE tears from her eyes 
with her thumb. We stand by the windows, 
shoulder to shoulder, watching the snow 
swirl past. Some of the flakes gather on the 
windowsill outside, piling at the corners. 

The feeling has returned to my hands. As I 
stare out at the world, dusted in white, I feel 
like everything has begun again, and it will 
be better this time. 

"I think I can get in touch with Marcus 
over the radio to negotiate a peace agree- 
ment," Evelyn says. "He'll be listening in; 
he'd be stupid not to." 

"Before you do that, I made a promise I 
have to keep," I say. I touch Evelyn's 
shoulder. I expected to see strain at the 
edges of her smile, but I don't. 

I feel a twinge of guilt. I didn't come here 
to ask her to lay down arms for me, to trade 
in everything she's worked for just to get me 
back. But then again, I didn't come here to 
give her any choice at all. I guess Tris was 
right— when you have to choose between two 
bad options, you pick the one that saves the 
people you love. I wouldn't have been saving 
Evelyn by giving her that serum. I would 
have been destroying her. 

Peter sits with his back to the wall in the 
hallway. He looks up at me when I lean over 
him, his dark hair stuck to his forehead from 
the melted snow. 

"Did you reset her?" he says. 

"No," I say. 

"Didn't think you would have the nerve." 

"It's not about nerve. You know what? 
Whatever." I shake my head and hold up the 
vial of memory serum. "Are you still set on 

He nods. 

"You could just do the work, you 
know," I say. "You could make better de- 
cisions, make a better life." 

"Yeah, I could," he says. "But I won't. We 
both know that." 

I do know that. I know that change is diffi- 
cult, and comes slowly, and that it is the 
work of many days strung together in a long 
line until the origin of them is forgotten. He 
is afraid that he will not be able to put in that 
work, that he will squander those days, and 
that they will leave him worse off than he is 
now. And I understand that feeling— I under- 
stand being afraid of yourself. 

So I have him sit on one of the couches, 
and I ask him what he wants me to tell him 
about himself, after his memories disappear 
like smoke. He just shakes his head. Noth- 
ing. He wants to retain nothing. 

Peter takes the vial with a shaking hand 
and twists off the cap. The liquid trembles 

inside it, almost spilling over the lip. He 
holds it under his nose to smell it. 

"How much should I drink?" he says, and I 
think I hear his teeth chattering. 

"I don't think it makes a difference," I say. 

"Okay. Well . . . here goes." He lifts the vial 
up to the light like he is toasting me. 

When he touches it to his mouth, I say, "Be 

Then he swallows. And I watch Peter 

The air outside tastes like ice. 

"Hey! Peter!" I shout, my breaths turning 
to vapor. 

Peter stands by the doorway to Erudite 
headquarters, looking clueless. At the sound 
of his name— which I have told him at least 
ten times since he drank the serum— he 
raises his eyebrows, pointing to his chest. 
Matthew told us people would be disoriented 
for a while after drinking the memory serum, 

but I didn't think "disoriented" meant "stu- 
pid" until now. 

I sigh. "Yes, that's you! For the eleventh 
time! Come on, let's go." 

I thought that when I looked at him after 
he drank the serum, I would still see the ini- 
tiate who shoved a butter knife into Edward's 
eye, and the boy who tried to kill my girl- 
friend, and all the other things he has done, 
stretching backward for as long as I've 
known him. But it's easier than I thought to 
see that he has no idea who he is anymore. 
His eyes still have that wide, innocent look, 
but this time, I believe it. 

Evelyn and I walk side by side, with Peter 
trotting behind us. The snow has stopped 
falling now, but enough has collected on the 
ground that it squeaks under my shoes. 

We walk to Millennium Park, where the 
mammoth bean sculpture reflects the moon- 
light, and then down a set of stairs. As we 
descend, Evelyn wraps her hand around my 

elbow to keep her balance, and we exchange 
a look. I wonder if she is as nervous as I am 
to face my father again. I wonder if she is 
nervous every time. 

At the bottom of the steps is a pavilion 
with two glass blocks, each one at least three 
times as tall as I am, at either end. This is 
where we told Marcus and Johanna we 
would meet them— both parties armed, to be 
realistic but even. 

They are already there. Johanna isn't hold- 
ing a gun, but Marcus is, and he has it 
trained on Evelyn. I point the gun Evelyn 
gave me at him, just to be safe. I notice the 
planes of his skull, showing through his 
shaved hair, and the jagged path his crooked 
nose carves down his face. 

"Tobias!" Johanna says. She wears a coat 
in Amity red, dusted with snowflakes. "What 
are you doing here?" 

"Trying to keep you all from killing each 
other," I say. "I'm surprised you're carrying a 

I nod to the bulge in her coat pocket, the 
unmistakable contours of a weapon. 

"Sometimes you have to take difficult 
measures to ensure peace," Johanna says. "I 
believe you agree with that, as a principle." 

"We're not here to chat," Marcus says, 
looking at Evelyn. "You said you wanted to 
talk about a treaty." 

The past few weeks have taken something 
from him. I can see it in the turned-down 
corners of his mouth, in the purple skin un- 
der his eyes. I see my own eyes set into his 
skull, and I think of my reflection in the fear 
landscape, how terrified I was, watching his 
skin spread over mine like a rash. I am still 
nervous that I will become him, even now, 
standing at odds with him with my mother at 
my side, like I always dreamed I would when 
I was a child. 

But I don't think that I'm still afraid. 

"Yes," Evelyn says. "I have some 
terms for us both to agree to. I think you will 
find them fair. If you agree to them, I will 
step down and surrender whatever weapons 
I have that my people are not using for per- 
sonal protection. I will leave the city and not 

Marcus laughs. I'm not sure if it's a mock- 
ing laugh or a disbelieving one. He's equally 
capable of either sentiment, an arrogant and 
deeply suspicious man. 

"Let her finish," Johanna says quietly, 
tucking her hands into her sleeves. 

"In return," Evelyn says, "you will not at- 
tack or try to seize control of the city. You 
will allow those people who wish to leave and 
seek a new life elsewhere to do so. You will 
allow those who choose to stay to vote on 
new leaders and a new social system. And 
most importantly, you, Marcus, will not be 
eligible to lead them." 

It is the only purely selfish term of the 
peace agreement. She told me she couldn't 
stand the thought of Marcus duping more 
people into following him, and I didn't argue 
with her. 

Johanna raises her eyebrows. I notice that 
she has pulled her hair back on both sides, to 
reveal the scar in its entirety. She looks bet- 
ter that way— stronger, when she is not hid- 
ing behind a curtain of hair, hiding who she 

"No deal," Marcus says. "I am the leader of 
these people." 
"Marcus," Johanna says. 

He ignores her. "You don't get to decide 
whether I lead them or not because you have 
a grudge against me, Evelyn!" 

"Excuse me," Johanna says loudly. "Mar- 
cus, what she is offering is too good to be 
true— we get everything we want without all 
the violence! How can you possibly say no?" 

"Because I am the rightful leader of these 
people!" Marcus says. "I am the leader of the 
Allegiant! I-" 

"No, you are not," Johanna says calmly. "I 
am the leader of the Allegiant. And you are 
going to agree to this treaty, or I am going to 
tell them that you had a chance to end this 
conflict without bloodshed if you sacrificed 
your pride, and you said no." 

Marcus's passive mask is gone, revealing 
the malicious face beneath it. But even he 
can't argue with Johanna, whose perfect 
calm and perfect threat have mastered him. 
He shakes his head but doesn't argue again. 

"I agree to your terms," Johanna says, and 
she holds out her hand, her footsteps 
squeaking in the snow. 

Evelyn removes her glove fingertip by fin- 
gertip, reaches across the gap, and shakes. 

"In the morning we should gather every- 
one together and tell them the new plan," Jo- 
hanna says. "Can you guarantee 

a safe gathering?" 

"I'll do my best," Evelyn says. 

I check my watch. An hour has passed 
since Amar and Christina separated from us 
near the Hancock building, which means he 
probably knows that the serum virus didn't 
work. Or maybe he doesn't. Either way, I 
have to do what I came here to do— I have to 
find Zeke and his mother and tell them what 
happened to Uriah. 

"I should go," I say to Evelyn. "I have 
something else to take care of. But I'll pick 
you up from the city limits tomorrow 

"That sounds good," Evelyn says, and she 
rubs my arm briskly with a gloved hand, like 
she used to when I came in from the cold as a 

"You won't be back, I assume?" Johanna 
says to me. "You've found a life for yourself 
on the outside?" 

"I have," I say. "Good luck in here. The 
people outside— they're going to try to shut 
the city down. You should be ready for 

Johanna smiles. "I'm sure we can negoti- 
ate with them." 

She offers me her hand, and I shake it. I 
feel Marcus's eyes on me like an oppressive 
weight threatening to crush me. I force my- 
self to look at him. 

"Good-bye," I say to him, and I mean it. 
Hana, Zeke's mother, has small feet that 
don't touch the ground when she sits in the 
easy chair in their living room. She is wear- 
ing a ragged black bathrobe and slippers, but 
the air she has, with her hands folded in her 
lap and her eyebrows raised, is so dignified 
that I feel like I am standing in front of a 
world leader. I glance at Zeke, who is rub- 
bing his face with his fists to wake up. 

Amar and Christina found them, not 
among the other revolutionaries near the 

Hancock building, but in their family apart- 
ment in the Pire, above Dauntless headquar- 
ters. I only found them because Christina 
thought to leave Peter and me a note with 
their location on the useless truck. Peter is 
waiting in the new van Evelyn found for us to 
drive to the Bureau. 

"I'm sorry," I say. "I don't know where to 

"You might begin with the worst," Hana 
says. "Like what exactly happened to my 

"He was seriously injured during an at- 
tack," I say. "There was an explosion, and he 
was very close to it." 

"Oh God," Zeke says, and he rocks back 
and forth like his body wants to be a child 
again, soothed by motion as a child is. 

But Hana just bends her head, hiding her 
face from me. 

Their living room smells like garlic and 
onion, maybe remnants from that night's 

dinner. I lean my shoulder into the white 
wall by the doorway. Hanging crookedly next 
to me is a picture of the family— Zeke as a 
toddler, Uriah as a baby, balancing on his 
mother's lap. Their father's face is pierced in 
several places, nose and ear and lip, but his 
wide, bright smile and dark complexion are 
more familiar to me, because he passed them 
both to his sons. 

"He has been in a coma since then," I say. 
"And ..." 

"And he isn't going to wake up," Hana 
says, her voice strained. "That is what you 
came to tell us, right?" 

"Yes," I say. "I came to collect you so that 
you can make a decision on his behalf." 

"A decision?" Zeke says. "You mean, to un- 
plug him or not?" 

"Zeke," Hana says, and she shakes her 
head. He sinks back into the couch. The 
cushions seem to wrap around him. 

"Of course we don't want to keep him alive 
that way," Hana says. "He would want to 
move on. But we would like to go see him." 

I nod. "Of course. But there's something 
else I should say. The attack ... it was a kind 
of uprising that involved some of the people 
from the place where we were staying. And I 
participated in it." 

I stare at the crack in the floorboards right 
in front of me, at the dust that has gathered 
there over time, and wait for a reaction, any 
reaction. What greets me is only silence. 

"I didn't do what you asked me," I say to 
Zeke. "I didn't watch out for him the way I 
should have. And I'm sorry." 

I chance a look at him, and he is just sit- 
ting still, staring at the empty vase on the 
coffee table. It is painted with faded pink 

"I think we need some time with this," 
Hana says. She clears her throat, but it 
doesn't help her tremulous voice. 

"I wish I could give it to you," I say. "But 
we're going back to the compound very soon, 
and you have to come with us." 

"All right," Hana says. "If you can wait out- 
side, we will be there in five minutes." 

The ride back to the compound is slow 
and dark. I watch the moon disappear and 
reappear behind the clouds as we bump over 
the ground. When we reach the outer limits 
of the city, it begins to snow again, large, 
light flakes that swirl in front of the head- 
lights. I wonder if Tris is watching it sweep 
across the pavement and gather in piles by 
the airplanes. I wonder if she is living in a 
better world than the one I left, among 
people who no longer remember what it is to 
have pure genes. 

Christina leans forward to whisper into my 
ear. "So you did it? It worked?" 

I nod. In the rearview mirror I see her 
touch her face with both hands, grinning into 

her palms. I know how she feels: safe. We are 
all safe. 

"Did you inoculate your family?" I say. 

"Yep. We found them with the Allegiant, in 
the Hancock building," she says. "But the 
time for the reset has passed— it looks like 
Tris and Caleb stopped it." 

Hana and Zeke murmur to each other on 
the way, marveling at the strange, dark world 
we move through. Amar gives the basic ex- 
planation as we go, looking back at them in- 
stead of the road far too often for my com- 
fort. I try to ignore my surges of panic as he 
almost veers into streetlights or road barri- 
ers, and focus instead on the snow. 

I have always hated the emptiness that 
winter brings, the blank landscape and the 
stark difference between sky and ground, the 
way it transforms trees into skeletons and 
the city into a wasteland. Maybe this winter I 
can be persuaded otherwise. 

We drive past the fences and stop by the 
front doors, which are no longer manned by 
guards. We get out, and Zeke seizes his 
mother's hand to steady her as she shuffles 
through the snow. As we walk into the com- 
pound, I know for a fact that Caleb suc- 
ceeded, because there is no one in sight. That 
can only mean that they have been reset, 
their memories forever altered. 

"Where is everyone?" Amar says. 

We walk through the abandoned security 
checkpoint without stopping. On the other 
side, I see Cara. The side of her face is badly 
bruised, and there's a bandage on her head, 
but that's not what concerns me. What con- 
cerns me is the troubled look on her face. 

"What is it?" I say. 

Cara shakes her head. 

"Where's Tris?" I say. 

"I'm sorry, Tobias." 

"Sorry about what?" Christina says 
roughly. "Tell us what happened!" 

"Tris went into the Weapons Lab instead 
of Caleb," Cara says. "She survived the death 
serum, and set off the memory serum, but 
she . . . she was shot. And she didn't survive. 
I'm so sorry." 

Most of the time I can tell when people are 
lying, and this must be a lie, because Tris is 
still alive, her eyes bright and her cheeks 
flushed and her small body full of power and 
strength, standing in a shaft of light in the at- 
rium. Tris is still alive, she wouldn't leave me 
here alone, she wouldn't go to the Weapons 
Lab instead of Caleb. 

"No," Christina says, shaking her 
head. "No way. There has to be some 

Cara's eyes well up with tears. 

It's then that I realize: Of course Tris 
would go into the Weapons Lab instead of 

Of course she would. 

Christina yells something, but to me her 
voice sounds muffled, like I have submerged 
my head underwater. The details of Cara's 
face have also become difficult to see, the 
world smearing together into dull colors. 

All I can do is stand still— I feel like if I just 
stand still, I can stop it from being true, I can 
pretend that everything is all right. Christina 
hunches over, unable to support her own 
grief, and Cara embraces her, and 
all I'm doing is standing still. 

WHEN HER BODY first hit the net, all I re- 
gistered was a gray blur. I pulled her across it 
and her hand was small, but warm, and then 
she stood before me, short and thin and 
plain and in all ways unremarkable— except 
that she had jumped first. The Stiff had 
jumped first. 

Even I didn't jump first. 

Her eyes were so stern, so insistent. 



BUT THAT WASN'T the first time I ever saw 
her. I saw her in the hallways at school, and 
at my mother's false funeral, and walking the 
sidewalks in the Abnegation sector. I saw 
her, but I didn't see her; no one saw her the 
way she truly was until she jumped. 

I suppose a fire that burns that bright is 
not meant to last. 


I GO TO see her body . . . sometime. I 
don't know how long it is after Cara tells me 
what happened. Christina and I walk 
shoulder to shoulder; we walk in Cara's foot- 
steps. I don't remember the journey from the 
entrance to the morgue, really, just a few 
smeared images and whatever sound I can 
make out through the barrier that has gone 
up inside my 


She lies on a table, and for a moment I 
think she's just sleeping, and when I touch 
her, she will wake up and smile at me and 
press a kiss to my mouth. But when I touch 
her she is cold, her body stiff and unyielding. 

Christina sniffles and sobs. I squeeze Tris's 
hand, praying that if I do it hard enough, I 
will send life back into her body and she will 
flush with color and wake up. 

I don't know how long it takes for me to 
realize that isn't going to happen, that she is 
gone. But when I do I feel all the strength go 
out of me, and I fall to my knees beside the 
table and I think I cry, then, or at least I want 
to, and everything inside me screams for just 
one more kiss, one more word, one more 
glance, one more. 

IN THE DAYS that follow, it's movement, 
not stillness, that helps to keep the grief at 
bay, so I walk the compound halls instead of 

sleeping. I watch everyone else recover from 
the memory serum that altered them per- 
manently as if from a great distance. 

Those lost in the memory serum haze are 
gathered into groups and given the truth: 
that human nature is complex, that all our 
genes are different, but neither damaged nor 
pure. They are also given the lie: that their 
memories were erased because of a freak ac- 
cident, and that they were on the verge of 
lobbying the government for equality for 

I keep finding myself stifled by the com- 
pany of others and then crippled by loneli- 
ness when I leave them. I am terrified and I 
don't even know of what, because I have lost 
everything already. My hands shake as I stop 
by the control room to watch the city on the 
screens. Johanna is arranging transportation 
for those who want to leave the city. They 
will come here to learn the truth. I don't 

know what will happen to those who remain 
in Chicago, and I'm not sure I care. 

I shove my hands into my pockets and 
watch for a few minutes, then walk away 
again, trying to match my footsteps to my 
heartbeat, or to avoid the cracks between the 
tiles. When I walk past the entrance, I see a 
small group of people gathered by the stone 
sculpture, one of them in a wheelchair— Nita. 

I walk past the useless security barrier and 
stand at a distance, watching them. Reggie 
steps on the stone slab and opens a valve in 
the bottom of the water tank. The drops turn 
into a stream of water, and soon water 
gushes out of the tank, splattering all over 
the slab, soaking the bottom of Reggie's 


I shudder a little. It's Caleb. I turn away 
from the voice, searching for an 
escape route. 
"Wait. Please," he says. 

I don't want to look at him, to measure 
how much, or how little, he grieves for her. 
And I don't want to think about how she died 
for such a miserable coward, about how he 
wasn't worth her life. 

Still, I do look at him, wondering if I can 
see some of her in his face, still hungry for 
her even now that I know she's gone. 

His hair is unwashed and unkempt, his 
green eyes bloodshot, his mouth twitching 
into a frown. 

He does not look like her. 

"I don't mean to bother you," he says. "But 
I have something to tell you. Something . . . 
she told me to tell you, before ..." 

"Just get on with it," I say, before he tries 
to finish the sentence. 

"She told me that if she didn't survive, I 
should tell you ..." Caleb chokes, then pulls 
himself up straight, fighting off tears. "That 
she didn't want to leave you." 

I should feel something, hearing her last 
words to me, shouldn't I? I feel nothing. I 
feel farther away than ever. 

"Yeah?" I say harshly. "Then why did she? 
Why didn't she let you die?" 

"You think I'm not asking myself that 
question?" Caleb says. "She loved me. 
Enough to hold me at gunpoint so she could 
die for me. I have no idea why, but that's just 
the way it is." 

He walks away without letting me respond, 
and it's probably better that way, because I 
can't think of anything to say that is equal to 
my anger. I blink away tears and sit down on 
the ground, right in the middle of the lobby. 

I know why she wanted to tell me that she 
didn't want to leave me. She wanted me to 
know that this was not another Erudite 
headquarters, not a lie told to make me sleep 
while she went to die, not an act of unneces- 
sary selfsacrifice. I grind the heels of my 
hands into my eyes like I can push my tears 

back into my skull. No crying, I chastise my- 
self. If I let a little of the emotion out, all of it 
will come out, and it will never end. 

Sometime later I hear voices nearby — Cara 
and Peter. 

"This sculpture was a symbol of change," 
she says to him. "Gradual change, but now 
they're taking it down." 

"Oh, really?" Peter sounds eager. "Why?" 

"Um . . . I'll explain later, if that's okay," 
Cara says. "Do you remember how to get 
back to the dormitory?" 


"Then ... go back there for a while. 
Someone will be there to help you." 

Cara walks over to me, and I cringe in anti- 
cipation of her voice. But all she does is sit 
next to me on the ground, her hands folded 
in her lap, her back straight. Alert but re- 
laxed, she watches the sculpture where Reg- 
gie stands under the gushing water. 

"You don't have to stay here," I say. 

"I don't have anywhere to be," she says. 
"And the quiet is nice." 

So we sit side by side, staring at the water, 
in silence. 

"There you are," Christina says, jogging to- 
ward us. Her face is swollen and her voice is 
listless, like a heavy sigh. "Come on, it's time. 
They're unplugging him." 
I shudder at the word, but push 
myself to my feet anyway. Hana and Zeke 
have been hovering over Uriah's body since 
we got here, their fingers finding his, their 
eyes searching for life. But there is no life 
left, just the machine beating his heart. 

Cara walks behind Christina and me as we 
go toward the hospital. I haven't slept in days 
but I don't feel tired, not in the way I nor- 
mally do, though my body aches as I walk. 
Christina and I don't speak, but I know our 
thoughts are the same, fixed on Uriah, on his 
last breaths. 

We make it to the observation window out- 
side Uriah's room, and Evelyn is 
there— Amar picked her up in my stead, a 
few days ago. She tries to touch my shoulder 
and I yank it away, not wanting to be 

Inside the room, Zeke and Hana stand on 
either side of Uriah. Hana is holding one of 
his hands, and Zeke is holding the other. A 
doctor stands near the heart monitor, a clip- 
board outstretched, held out not to Hana or 
Zeke but to David. Sitting in his wheelchair. 
Hunched and dazed, like all the others who 
have lost their memories. 

"What is he doing there?" I feel like all my 
muscles and bones and nerves are on fire. 

"He's still technically the leader of the Bur- 
eau, at least until they replace him," Cara 
says from behind me. "Tobias, he doesn't re- 
member anything. The man you knew 
doesn't exist anymore; he's as good as dead. 
That man doesn't remember kill—" 

"Shut up!" I snap. David signs the clip- 
board and turns around, pushing himself to- 
ward the door. It opens, and I can't stop my- 
self— I lunge toward him, and only Evelyn's 
wiry frame stops me from wrapping my 
hands around his throat. He gives me a 
strange look and pushes himself down the 
hallway as I press against my mother's arm, 
which feels like a bar across my shoulders. 

"Tobias," Evelyn says. "Calm. Down." 

"Why didn't someone lock him up?" I de- 
mand, and my eyes are too blurry to see out 

"Because he still works for the govern- 
ment," Cara says. "Just because they've de- 
clared it an unfortunate accident doesn't 
mean they've fired everyone. And the gov- 
ernment isn't going to lock him up just be- 
cause he killed a rebel under duress." 

"A rebel," I repeat. "That's all she is now?" 

"Was," Cara says softly. "And no, of course 
not, but that's what the government sees her 

I'm about to respond, but Christina inter- 
rupts. "Guys, they're doing it." 

In Uriah's room, Zeke and Hana join their 
free hands over Uriah's body. I see Hana's 
lips moving, but I can't tell what she's say- 
ing—do the Dauntless have prayers for the 
dying? The Abnegation react to death with 
silence and service, not words. I find my an- 
ger ebbing away, and I'm lost in muffled grief 
again, this time not just for Tris, but for Uri- 
ah, whose smile is burned into my memory. 
My friend's brother, and then my friend, too, 
though not for long enough to let his humor 
work its way into me, not for long enough. 

The doctor flips some switches, his clip- 
board clutched to his stomach, and the ma- 
chines stop breathing for Uriah. Zeke's 
shoulders shake, and Hana squeezes his 
hand tightly, until her knuckles go white. 

Then she says something, and her hands 
spring open, and she steps back from Uriah's 
body. Letting him go. 

I move away from the window, walking at 
first, and then running, pushing my way 
through the hallways, careless, blind, empty. 

THE NEXT DAY I take a truck from the com- 
pound. The people there are still recovering 
from their memory loss, so no one tries to 
stop me. I drive over the railroad tracks to- 
ward the city, my eyes wandering over the 
skyline but not really taking it in. 

When I reach the fields that separate the 
city from the outside world, I press down the 
accelerator. The truck crushes dying grass 
and snow beneath its tires, and soon the 
ground turns to the pavement in the Abnega- 
tion sector, and I barely feel the passage of 
time. The streets are all the same, but my 
hands and feet know where to go, even if my 
mind doesn't bother to guide them. I pull up 

to the house near the stop sign, with the 
cracked front walk. 
My house. 

I walk through the front door and up the 
stairs, still with that muffled feeling in my 
ears, like I am drifting far away from the 
world. People talk about the pain of grief, but 
I don't know what they mean. To me, grief is 
a devastating numbness, every sensation 

I press my palm to the panel covering the 
mirror upstairs, and push it aside. Though 
the light of sunset is orange, creeping across 
the floor and illuminating my face from be- 
low, I have never looked paler; the circles 
under my eyes have never been more pro- 
nounced. I have spent the past few days 
somewhere between sleeping and waking, 
not quite able to manage either extreme. 

I plug the hair clippers into the outlet near 
the mirror. The right guard is already in 
place, so all I have to do is run it through my 

hair, bending my ears down to protect them 
from the blade, turning my head to check the 
back of my neck for places I might have 
missed. The shorn hair falls on my feet and 
shoulders, itching whatever bare skin it 
finds. I run my hand over my head to make 
sure it's even, but I don't need to check, not 
really. I learned to do this myself when I was 

I spend a lot of time brushing it from my 
shoulders and feet, then sweeping it into a 
dustpan. When I finish, I stand in front of 
the mirror again, and I can see the edges of 
my tattoo, the Dauntless flame. 

I take the vial of memory serum from my 
pocket. I know that one vial will erase most 
of my life, but it will target memories, not 
facts. I will still know how to write, how to 
speak, how to put together a computer, be- 
cause that data was stored in different parts 
of my brain. But I won't remember anything 

The experiment is over. Johanna 
successfully negotiated with the govern- 
ment—David's superiors— to allow the 
former faction members to stay in the city, 
provided they are selfsufficient, submit to 
the government's authority, and allow out- 
siders to come in and join them, making Ch- 
icago just another metropolitan area, like 
Milwaukee. The Bureau, once in charge of 
the experiment, will now keep order in 
Chicago's city limits. 

It will be the only metropolitan area in the 
country governed by people who don't be- 
lieve in genetic damage. A kind of paradise. 
Matthew told me he hopes people from the 
fringe will trickle in to fill all the empty 
spaces, and find there a life more prosperous 
than the one they left. 

All that I want is to become someone new. 
In this case, Tobias Johnson, son of Evelyn 
Johnson. Tobias Johnson may have lived a 
dull and empty life, but he is at least a whole 

person, not this fragment of a person that I 
am, too damaged by pain to become any- 
thing useful. 

"Matthew told me you stole some of the 
memory serum and a truck," says a voice at 
the end of the hallway. Christina's. "I have to 
say, I didn't really believe him." 

I must not have heard her enter the house 
through the muffle. Even her voice sounds 
like it is traveling through water to reach my 
ears, and it takes me a few seconds to make 
sense of what she says. When I do, I look at 
her and say, "Then why did you come, if you 
didn't believe him?" 

"Just in case," she says, starting toward 
me. "Plus, I wanted to see the city one more 
time before it all changes. Give me that vial, 

"No." I fold my fingers over it to protect it 
from her. "This is my decision, not yours." 

Her dark eyes widen, and her face is radi- 
ant with sunlight. It makes every strand of 

her thick, dark hair gleam orange like it's on 

"This is not your decision," she says. "This 
is the decision of a coward, and you're a lot 
of things, Four, but not a coward. Never." 

"Maybe I am now," I answer passively. 
"Things have changed. I'm all right with it." 

"No, you're not." 

I feel so exhausted all I can do is roll my 

"You can't become a person she would 
hate," Christina says, quietly this time. "And 
she would have hated this." 

Anger stampedes through me, hot and 
lively, and the muffled feeling around my 
ears falls away, making even this quiet Ab- 
negation street sound loud. I shudder with 
the force of it. 

"Shut up!" I yell. "Shut up! You don't know 
what she would hate; you didn't know her, 


"I know enough!" she snaps. "I know she 
wouldn't want you to erase her from your 
memory like she didn't even matter to you!" 

I lunge toward her, pinning her shoulder 
to the wall, and lean closer to her face. 

"If you dare suggest that again," I say, 

"You'll what?" Christina shoves me back, 
hard. "Hurt me? You know, there's a word 
for big, strong men who attack women, and 
it's coward." 

I remember my father's screams filling the 
house, and his hand around my mother's 
throat, slamming her into walls and doors. I 
remember watching from my doorway, my 
hand wrapped around the door frame. And I 
remember hearing quiet sobs through her 
bedroom door, how she locked it so I 
couldn't get in. 

I step back and slump against the wall, let- 
ting my body collapse into it. 

"I'm sorry," I say. 

"I know," she answers. 

We stand still for a few seconds, just look- 
ing at each other. I remember hating her the 
first time I met her, because she was a 
Candor, because words just dribbled out of 
her mouth unchecked, careless. But over 
time she showed me who she really was, a 
forgiving friend, faithful to the truth, brave 
enough to take action. I can't help but like 
her now, can't help but see what Tris saw in 

"I know how it feels to want to forget 
everything," she says. "I also know how it 
feels for someone you love to get killed for no 
reason, and to want to trade all your memor- 
ies of them for just a moment's peace." 

She wraps her hand around mine, which is 
wrapped around the vial. 

"I didn't know Will long," she says, "but he 
changed my life. He changed me. And I know 
Tris changed you even more." 

The hard expression she wore a moment 
ago melts away, and she touches my 
shoulders, lightly. 

"The person you became with her is worth 
being," she says. "If you swallow that serum, 
you'll never be able to find your way back to 

The tears come again, like when I saw 
Tris's body, and this time, pain comes with 
them, hot and sharp in my chest. I clutch the 
vial in my fist, desperate for the relief it of- 
fers, the protection from the pain of every 
memory clawing inside me like an animal. 

Christina puts her arms around my 
shoulders, and her embrace only makes the 
pain worse, because it reminds me of every 
time Tris's thin arms slipped around me, un- 
certain at first but then stronger, more con- 
fident, more sure of herself and of me. It re- 
minds me that no embrace will ever feel the 
same again, because no one will ever be like 
her again, because she's gone. 

She's gone, and crying feels so useless, so 
stupid, but it's all I can do. Christina holds 
me upright and doesn't say a word for a long 

Eventually I pull away, but her hands stay 
on my shoulders, warm and rough with cal- 
luses. Maybe just as skin on a hand grows 
tougher after pain in repetition, a person 
does too. But I don't want to become a cal- 
loused man. 

There are other kinds of people in this 
world. There is the kind like Tris, who, after 
suffering and betrayal, could still find 
enough love to lay down her life instead of 
her brother's. Or the kind like Cara, who 
could still forgive the person who shot her 
brother in the head. Or Christina, who lost 
friend after friend but still decided to stay 
open, to make new ones. Appearing in front 
of me is another choice, brighter and 
stronger than the ones I gave myself. 

My eyes opening, I offer the vial to her. 
She takes it and pockets it. 

"I know Zeke's still weird around you," she 
says, slinging an arm across my shoulders. 
"But I can be your friend in the meantime. 
We can even exchange bracelets if you want, 
like the Amity girls used to." 

"I don't think that will be necessary." 

We walk down the stairs and out to the 
street together. The sun has slipped behind 
the buildings of Chicago, and in the distance 
I hear a train rushing over the rails, but we 
are moving away from this place and all that 
it has meant to us, and that is all right. 

There are so many ways to be brave in 
this world. Sometimes bravery involves lay- 
ing down your life for something bigger than 
yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it 
involves giving up everything you have ever 
known, or everyone you have ever loved, for 

sake of something greater. 

But sometimes it doesn't. 

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting 
your teeth through pain, and the work of 
every day, the slow walk toward a better life. 

That is the sort of bravery I must have 



EVELYN STANDS at the place where two 
worlds meet. Tire tracks are worn into the 
ground now, from the frequent coming and 
going of people from the fringe moving in 
and out, or people from the former Bureau 
compound commuting back and forth. Her 
bag rests against her leg, in one of the wells 
in the earth. She lifts a hand to greet me 
when I'm close. 

When she gets into the truck, she kisses 
my cheek, and I let her. I feel a smile creep 
across my face, and I let it stay there. 

"Welcome back," I say. 

The agreement, when I offered it to her 
more than two years ago, and when she 
made it again with Johanna shortly after, 
was that she would leave the city. Now, so 
much has changed in Chicago that I don't see 
the harm in her coming back, and neither 
does she. Though two years have passed, she 
looks younger, her face fuller and her smile 
wider. The time away has done her good. 

"How are you?" she says. 

"I'm . . . okay," I say. "We're 
scattering her ashes today." 

I glance at the urn perched on the backseat 
like another passenger. For a long time I left 
Tris's ashes in the Bureau morgue, not sure 
what kind of funeral she would want, and not 
sure I could make it through one. But today 
would be Choosing Day, if we still had fac- 
tions, and it's time to take a step forward, 
even if it's a small one. 

Evelyn puts a hand on my shoulder and 
looks out at the fields. The crops that were 

once isolated to the areas around Amity 
headquarters have spread, and continue to 
spread through all the grassy spaces around 
the city. Sometimes I miss the desolate, 
empty land. But right now I don't mind driv- 
ing through the rows and rows of corn or 
wheat. I see people among the plants, check- 
ing the soil with handheld devices designed 
by former Bureau scientists. They wear red 
and blue and green and purple. 

"What's it like, living without factions?" 
Evelyn says. 

"It's very ordinary," I say. I smile at her. 
"You'll love it." 

I take Evelyn to my apartment just north 
of the river. It's on one of the lower floors, 
but through the abundant windows I can see 
a wide stretch of buildings. I was one of the 
first settlers in the new Chicago, so I got to 
choose where I lived. Zeke, Shauna, 
Christina, Amar, and George opted to live in 
the higher floors of the Hancock building, 

and Caleb and Cara both moved back to the 
apartments near Millennium Park, but I 
came here because it was beautiful, and be- 
cause it was nowhere near either of my old 

"My neighbor is a history expert, he came 
from the fringe," I say as I search my pockets 
for my keys. "He calls Chicago 'the fourth 
city'— because it was destroyed by fire, ages 
ago, and then again by the Purity War, and 
now we're on the fourth attempt at settle- 
ment here." 

"The fourth city," Evelyn says as I push the 
door open. "I like it." 

There's hardly any furniture inside, just a 
couch and a table, some chairs, a kitchen. 
Sunlight winks in the windows of the build- 
ing across the marshy river. Some of the 
former Bureau scientists are trying to restore 
the river and the lake to their former glory, 
but it will be a while. Change, like healing, 
takes time. 

Evelyn drops her bag on the couch. "Thank 
you for letting me stay with you for a little 
while. I promise I'll find another place soon." 

"No problem," I say. I feel nervous about 
her being here, poking through my meager 
possessions, shuffling down my hallways, 
but we can't stay distant forever. Not when I 
promised her that I would try to bridge this 
gap between us. 

"George says he needs some help training 
a police force," Evelyn says. "You didn't 

"No," I say. "I told you, I'm done with 

"That's right. You're using your words 
now," Evelyn says, wrinkling her nose. "I 
don't trust politicians, you know." 

"You'll trust me, because I'm your son," I 
say. "Anyway, I'm not a politician. Not yet, 
anyway. Just an assistant." 

She sits at the table and looks around, 
twitchy and spry, like a cat. 

"Do you know where your father is?" she 

I shrug. "Someone told me he left. I didn't 
ask where he went." 

She rests her chin on her hand. "There's 
nothing you wanted to say to him? Nothing 
at all?" 

"No," I say. I twirl my keys around my fin- 
ger. "I just wanted to leave him behind me, 
where he belongs." 

Two years ago, when I stood across from 
him in the park with the snow falling all 
around us, I realized that just as attacking 
him in front of the Dauntless in the Merciless 
Mart didn't make me feel better about the 
pain he caused me, yelling at him or insult- 
ing him wouldn't either. There was only one 
option left, and it was letting go. 

Evelyn gives me a strange, searching look, 
then crosses the room and opens the bag she 
left on the couch. She takes out an object 

made of blue glass. It looks like falling water, 
suspended in time. 

I remember when she gave it to me. I was 
young, but not too young to realize that it 
was a forbidden object in the Abnegation fac- 
tion, a useless and therefore a self-indulgent 
one. I asked her what purpose it served, and 
she told me, It doesn't do anything obvious. 
But if might be able to do something in here. 
Then she touched her hand to her heart. 
Beautiful things sometimes do. 

For years it was a symbol of my quiet defi- 
ance, my small refusal to be an obedient, de- 
ferent Abnegation child, and a symbol of my 
mother's defiance too, even though I be- 
lieved she was dead. I hid it under my bed, 
and the day I decided to leave Abnegation, I 
put it on my desk so my father could see it, 
see my strength, and hers. 

"When you were gone, this reminded me 
of you," she says, clutching the glass to her 
stomach. "Reminded me of how brave you 

were, always have been." She smiles a little. 
"I thought you might keep it here. I intended 
it for you, after all." 

I wouldn't trust my voice to remain steady 
if I spoke, so I just smile back, and nod. 
The spring air is cold but I leave the windows 
open in the truck, so I can feel it in my chest, 
so it stings my fingertips, a reminder of the 
lingering winter. I stop by the train platform 
near the Merciless Mart and take the urn out 
of the backseat. It's silver and simple, no en- 
gravings. I didn't choose it; Christina did. 

I walk down the platform toward the group 
that has already gathered. Christina stands 
with Zeke and Shauna, who sits in the wheel- 
chair with a blanket over her lap. She has a 
better wheelchair now, one without handles 
on the back, so she can maneuver it more 
easily. Matthew stands on the platform with 
his toes over the edge. 

"Hi," I say, standing at Shauna's shoulder. 

Christina smiles at me, and Zeke claps me 
on the shoulder. 

Uriah died only days after Tris, but Zeke 
and Hana said their good-byes just weeks af- 
terward, scattering his ashes in the chasm, 
amid the clatter of all their friends and fam- 
ily. We screamed his name into the echo 
chamber of the Pit. Still, I know that Zeke is 
remembering him today, just as the rest of us 
are, even though this last act of Dauntless 
bravery is for Tris. 

"Got something to show you," Shauna 
says, and she tosses the blanket aside, re- 
vealing complicated metal braces on her legs. 
They go all the way up to her hips and wrap 
around her belly like a cage. She smiles at 
me, and with a gear-grinding sound, her feet 
shift to the ground in front of the chair, and 
in fits and starts, she stands. 

Despite the serious occasion, I smile. 

"Well, look at that," I say. "I'd forgotten 
how tall you are." 

"Caleb and his lab buddies made them for 
me," she says. "Still getting the hang of it, but 
they say I might be able to run someday." 

"Nice," I say. "Where is he, anyway?" 

"He and Amar will meet us at the end of 
the line," she says. "Someone has to be there 
to catch the first person." 

"He's still sort of a pansycake," Zeke says. 
"But I'm coming around to him." 

"Hm," I say, not committing. The truth is, 
I've made my peace with Caleb, but I still 
can't be around him for long. His gestures, 
his inflections, his manner, they are hers. 
They make him into just a whisper of her, 
and that is not enough of her, but it is also 
far too much. 

I would say more, but the train is coming. 
It charges toward us on the polished rails, 
then squeals as it slows to a stop in front of 
the platform. A head leans out the window of 
the first car, where the controls are— it's 
Cara, her 

hair in a tight braid. 
"Get on!" she says. 

Shauna sits in the chair again and pushes 
herself through the doorway. Matthew, 
Christina, and Zeke follow. I get on last, of- 
fering the urn to Shauna to hold, and stand 
in the doorway, my hand clutching the 
handle. The train starts again, building speed 
with each second, and I hear it churning over 
the tracks and whistling over the rails, and I 
feel the power of it rising inside me. The air 
whips across my face and presses my clothes 
to my body, and I watch the city sprawl out 
in front of me, the buildings lit by the sun. 

It's not the same as it used to be, but I got 
over that a long time ago. All of us have 
found new places. Cara and Caleb work in 
the laboratories at the compound, which are 
now a small segment of the Department of 
Agriculture that works to make agriculture 
more efficient, capable of feeding more 
people. Matthew works in psychiatric 

research somewhere in the city— the last time 
I asked him, he was studying something 
about memory. Christina works in an office 
that relocates people from the fringe who 
want to move into the city. Zeke and Amar 
are policemen, and George trains the police 
force— Dauntless jobs, I call them. And I'm 
assistant to one of our city's representatives 
in government: 
Johanna Reyes. 

I stretch my arm out to grasp the other 
handle and lean out of the car as it turns, al- 
most dangling over the street two stories be- 
low me. I feel a thrill in my stomach, the 
fear-thrill the true Dauntless love. 

"Hey," Christina says, standing beside me. 
"How's your mother?" 

"Fine," I say. "We'll see, I guess." 

"Are you going to zip line?" 

I watch the track dip down in front of us, 
going all the way to street level. 

"Yes," I say. "I think Tris would want me to 
try it at least once." 

Saying her name still gives me a little 
twinge of pain, a pinch that lets me know her 
memory is still dear to me. 

Christina watches the rails ahead of us and 
leans her shoulder into mine, just for a few 
seconds. "I think you're right." 

My memories of Tris, some of the most 
powerful memories I have, have dulled with 
time, as memories do, and they no longer 
sting as they used to. Sometimes I actually 
enjoy going over them in my mind, though 
not often. Sometimes I go over them with 
Christina, and she listens better than I ex- 
pected her to, Candor smart-mouth that she 

Cara guides the train to a stop, and I hop 
onto the platform. At the top of the stairs 
Shauna gets out of the chair and works her 
way down the steps with the braces, one at a 
time. Matthew and I carry her empty chair 

after her, which is cumbersome and heavy, 
but not impossible to manage. 

"Any updates from Peter?" I ask Matthew 
as we reach the bottom of the stairs. 

After Peter emerged from the memory ser- 
um haze, some of the sharper, harsher as- 
pects of his personality returned, though not 
all of them. I lost touch with him after that. I 
don't hate him anymore, but that doesn't 
mean I have to like him. 

"He's in Milwaukee," Matthew says. "I 
don't know what he's doing, though." 

"He's working in an office somewhere," 
Cara says from the bottom of the stairs. She 
has the urn cradled in her arms, taken from 
Shauna's lap on the way off the train. "I think 
it's good for him." 

"I always thought he would go join the GD 
rebels in the fringe," Zeke says. "Shows you 
what I know." 

"He's different now," Cara says with a 

There are still GD rebels in the fringe who 
believe that another war is the only way to 
get the change we want. I fall more on the 
side that wants to work for change without 
violence. I've had enough violence to last me 
a lifetime, and I bear it still, not in scars on 
my skin but in the memories that rise up in 
my mind when I least want them to, my 
father's fist colliding with my jaw, my gun 
raised to execute Eric, the Abnegation bodies 
sprawled across the streets of my old home. 

We walk the streets to the zip line. The fac- 
tions are gone, but this part of the city has 
more Dauntless than any other, recognizable 
still by their pierced faces and tattooed skin, 
though no longer by the colors they wear, 
which are sometimes garish. Some wander 
the sidewalks with us, but most are at work 
—everyone in Chicago is required to work if 
they're able. 

Ahead of me I see the Hancock building 
bending into the sky, its base wider than its 

top. The black girders chase one another up 
to the roof, crossing, tightening, and expand- 
ing. I haven't been this close in a long time. 

We enter the lobby, with its gleaming, pol- 
ished floors and its walls smeared with 
bright Dauntless graffiti, left here by the 
building's residents as a kind of relic. This is 
a Dauntless place, because they are the ones 
who embraced it, for its height and, a part of 
me also suspects, for its loneliness. The 
Dauntless liked to fill empty spaces with 
their noise. It's something I liked about 

Zeke jabs the elevator button with his in- 
dex finger. We pile in, and Cara presses 
number 99. 

I close my eyes as the elevator surges up- 
ward. I can almost see the space opening up 
beneath my feet, a shaft of darkness, and 
only a foot of solid ground between me and 
the sinking, dropping, plummeting. The 

elevator shudders as it stops, and I cling to 
the wall to steady myself as the doors open. 

Zeke touches my shoulder. "Don't worry, 
man. We did this all the time, remember?" 

I nod. Air rushes through the gap in the 
ceiling, and above me is the sky, bright blue. 
I shuffle with the others toward the ladder, 
too numb with fear to make my feet move 
any faster. 

I find the ladder with my fingertips and fo- 
cus on one rung at a time. Above me, Shauna 
maneuvers awkwardly up the ladder, using 
mostly the strength of her arms. 

I asked Tori once, while I was getting the 
symbols tattooed on my back, if she thought 
we were the last people left in the world. 
Maybe, was all she said. I don't think she 
liked to think about it. But up here, on the 
roof, it is possible to believe that we are the 
last people left anywhere. 

I stare at the buildings along the marsh 
front, and my chest tightens, squeezes, like 
it's about to collapse into itself. 

Zeke runs across the roof to the zip line 
and attaches one of the man-sized slings to 
the steel cable. He locks it so it won't slide 
down, and looks at the group of us 

"Christina," he says. "It's all you." 

Christina stands near the sling, tapping 
her chin with a finger. 

"What do you think? Face-up or 

"Backward," Matthew says. "I wanted to go 
face-up so I don't wet my pants, and I don't 
want you copying me." 

"Going face-up will only make that more 
likely to happen, you know," Christina says. 
"So go ahead and do it so I can start calling 
you Wetpants." 

Christina gets in the sling feet-first, belly 
down, so she'll watch the building get smal- 
ler as she travels. I shudder. 

I can't watch. I close my eyes as Christina 
travels farther and farther away, and even as 
Matthew, and then Shauna, do the same 
thing. I can hear their cries of joy, like bird- 
calls, on the wind. 

"Your turn, Four," says Zeke. 

I shake my head. 

"Come on," Cara says. "Better to get it over 
with, right?" 

"No," I say. "You go. Please." 

She offers me the urn, then takes a deep 
breath. I hold the urn against my stomach. 
The metal is warm from where so many 
people have touched it. Cara climbs into the 
sling, unsteady, and Zeke straps her in. She 
crosses her arms over her chest, and he 
sends her out, over Lake Shore Drive, over 
the city. I don't hear anything from her, not 
even a gasp. 

Then it's just Zeke and me left, staring at 
each other. 

"I don't think I can do it," I say, and 
though my voice is steady, my body is 

"Of course you can," he says. "You're Four, 
Dauntless legend! You can face anything." 

I cross my arms and inch closer to the edge 
of the roof. Even though I'm several feet 
away, I feel my body pitching over the edge, 
and I shake my head again, and again, and 

"Hey." Zeke puts his hands on my 
shoulders. "This isn't about you, remember? 
It's about her. Doing something she would 
have liked to do, something she would have 
been proud of you for doing. Right?" 

That's it. I can't avoid this, I can't back out 
now, not when I still remember her smile as 
she climbed the Ferris wheel with me, or the 
hard set of her jaw as she faced fear after fear 
in the simulations. 

"How did she get in?" 

"Face-first," Zeke says. 

"All right." I hand him the urn. "Put this 
behind me, okay? And open up the 

I climb into the sling, my hands shaking so 
much I can barely grip the sides. Zeke tight- 
ens the straps across my back and legs, then 
wedges the urn behind me, facing out, so the 
ashes will spread. I stare down Lake Shore 
Drive, swallowing bile, and start to slide. 

Suddenly I want to take it back, but it's too 
late, I am already diving toward the ground. 
I'm screaming so loud, I want to cover my 
own ears. I feel the scream living inside me, 
filling my chest, throat, and head. 

The wind stings my eyes but I force them 
open, and in my moment of blind panic I un- 
derstand why she did it this way, face- 
first— it was because it made her feel like she 
was flying, like she was a bird. 

I can still feel the emptiness beneath me, 
and it is like the emptiness inside me, like a 
mouth about to swallow me. 

I realize, then, that I have stopped moving. 
The last bits of ash float on the wind like gray 
snowflakes, and then disappear. 

The ground is only a few feet below me, 
close enough to jump down. The others have 
gathered there in a circle, their arms clasped 
to form a net of bone and muscle to catch me 
in. I press my face to the sling and laugh. 

I toss the empty urn down to them, then 
twist my arms behind my back to undo the 
straps holding me in. I drop into my friends' 
arms like a stone. They catch me, their bones 
pinching at my back and legs, and lower me 
to the ground. 

There is an awkward silence as I stare at 
the Hancock building in wonder, and no one 
knows what to say. Caleb smiles at me, 

Christina blinks tears from her eyes and 
says, "Oh! Zeke's on his way." 

Zeke is hurtling toward us in a black sling. 
At first it looks like a dot, then a blob, and 
then a person swathed in black. He crows 
with joy as he eases to a stop, and I reach 
across to grab Amar's forearm. On my other 
side, I grasp a pale arm that belongs to Cara. 
She smiles at me, and there is some 
sadness in her smile. 

Zeke's shoulder hits our arms, hard, and 
he smiles wildly as he lets us cradle him like 
a child. 

"That was nice. Want to go again, Four?" 
he says. 

I don't hesitate before answering. "Abso- 
lutely not." 

We walk back to the train in a loose 
cluster. Shauna walks with her braces, Zeke 
pushing the empty wheelchair, and ex- 
changes small talk with Amar. Matthew, 
Cara, and Caleb walk together, talking about 

something that has them all excited, kindred 
spirits that they are. Christina sidles up next 
to me and 

puts a hand on my shoulder. 

"Happy Choosing Day," she says. "I'm go- 
ing to ask you how you really are. And you're 
going to give me an honest answer." 

We talk like this sometimes, giving each 
other orders. Somehow she has become one 
of the best friends I have, despite our fre- 
quent bickering. 

"I'm all right," I say. "It's hard. It always 
will be." 

"I know," she says. 

We walk at the back of the group, past the 
still-abandoned buildings with their dark 
windows, over the bridge that spans the 

"Yeah, sometimes life really sucks," she 
says. "But you know what I'm 
holding on for?" 
I raise my eyebrows. 

She raises hers, too, mimicking me. 

"The moments that don't suck," she says. 
"The trick is to notice them when they come 

Then she smiles, and I smile back, and we 
climb the stairs to the train platform side by 

Since I was young, I have always known this: 
Life damages us, every one. We can't escape 
that damage. 

But now, I am also learning this: We can 
be mended. We mend each other. 

To me, the acknowledgments page is a place 
for me to say, as sincerely as possible, that I 
don't prosper, in life or in books, because of 
my own strength or skill alone. This series 
may have only one author, but this author 
wouldn't have been able to do much of any- 
thing without the following people. So with 
that in mind: Thank you, God, for giving me 
the people who mend me. 

Here they are- 
Thank you to: my husband, for not only 
loving me in an extraordinary way but for 
some difficult brainstorming sessions, for 
reading all the drafts of this book, and for 
dealing with Neurotic Author Wife with the 
utmost patience. 

Joanna Volpe, for handling everything 
LIKE A BOSS, as they say, with honesty and 
kindness. Katherine Tegen, for excellent 
notes and for continually showing me the 
compassionate candy center inside the pub- 
lishing badass. (I won't tell anyone. Wait, I 
just did.) Molly O'Neill, for all your time and 
work and for the eye that spotted Divergent 
from what I'm sure was a giant stack of 
manuscripts. Casey Mclntyre, for some ma- 
jor publicity prowess and for showing me 
astounding kindness (and dance moves). 

Joel Tippie, as well as Amy Ryan 
and Barb Fitzsimmons, for making these 
books so gorgeous Every. Single. Time. The 

amazing Brenna Franzitta, Josh Weiss, Mark 
Rifkin, Valerie Shea, Christine Cox, and Joan 
Giurdanella, for taking such good care of my 
words. Lauren Flower, Alison Lisnow, 
Sandee Roston, Diane Naughton, Colleen 
O'Connell, Aubry Parks-Fried, Margot Wood, 
Patty Rosati, Molly Thomas, Megan Sugrue, 
Onalee Smith, and Brett Rachlin, for all your 
marketing and publicity efforts, which are far 
too substantial to name. Andrea Pappen- 
heimer, Kerry Moynagh, Kathy Faber, Liz 
Frew, Heather Doss, Jenny Sheridan, Fran 
Olson, Deb Murphy, Jessica Abel, Samantha 
Hagerbaumer, Andrea Rosen, and David 
Wolfson, sales experts, for your enthusiasm 
and support. Jean McGinley, Alpha Wong, 
and Sheala Howley, for getting my words on 
so many shelves across the globe. For that 
matter, all my foreign publishers, for believ- 
ing in these stories. Shayna Ramos and 
Ruiko Tokunaga, production whizzes; Caitlin 
Garing, Beth Ives, Karen Dziekonski, and 

Sean McManus, who make fantastic au- 
diobooks; and Randy Rosema and Pam 
Moore of finance— for all your hard work and 
talent. Kate Jackson, Susan Katz, and Brian 
Murray, for steering this Harper ship so well. 
I have an enthusiastic and supportive pub- 
lisher from top to bottom, and that means so 
much to me. 

Pouya Shahbazian, for finding Divergent 
such a good movie home, and for all your 
hard work, patience, friendship, and 
horrifying bug-related pranks. Danielle 
Barthel, for your organized and patient 
mind. Everyone else at New Leaf Literary, 
for being wonderful people who do equally 
wonderful work. Steve Younger, for always 
looking out for me in work and in life. Every- 
one involved in "movie stuff— particularly 
Neil Burger, Doug Wick, Lucy Fisher, Gillian 
Bohrer, and Erik Feig— for handling my work 
with such care and respect. 

Mom, Frank, Ingrid, Karl, Frank Jr., Can- 
dice, McCall, Beth, Roger, Tyler, Trevor, 
Darby, Rachel, Billie, Fred, Granny, the 
Johnsons (both Romanian and Missourian), 
the Krausses, the Paquettes, the Fitches, and 
the Rydzes— for all your love. (I would never 
choose my faction before you. Ever.) 

All the past-present-future members of YA 
Highway and Write Night, for being such 
thoughtful, understanding writer buddies. 
All the more experienced authors who have 
included me and helped me for the past few 
years. All the writers who have reached out 
to me on Twitter or e-mail for camaraderie. 
Writing can be a lonely job, but not for me, 
because I have you. I wish I could list you all. 
Mary Katherine Howell, Alice Kovacik, Carly 
Maletich, Danielle Bristow, and all my other 
nonwriter friends, for helping me keep my 
head on straight. 

All the Divergent fansites, for crazyawe- 
some internet (and real-life) enthusiasm. 

My readers, for reading and thinking and 
squealing and tweeting and talking and lend- 
ing and, above all, for teaching me so many 
valuable lessons about writing and life. 

All of the people listed above have made 
this series what it is, and knowing you all has 
changed my life. I am so lucky. 
I'll say it one last time: Be brave. 

In the spring of 2012, fifty blogs helped 
spread their love for the DIVERGENT 
series by supporting the release of 
INSURGENT in a faction-based online 
campaign. Every participant was integral to 
the success of this series! Thank you to: 

ABNEGATION: Amanda Bell (faction 
leader), Katie Bartow, Heidi Bennett, Katie 
Butler, Asma Faizal, Hafsah Faizal, Ana 
Grilo, Kathy Habel, Thea James, Julie Jones, 
and HD Tolson AMITY: Meg Caristi, Kassiah 
Faul, and Sherry Atwell (faction leaders), 
Kristin Aragon, Emily Ellsworth, Cindy 

Hand, Melissa Helmers, Abigail J., Sarah 
Pitre, Lisa Reeves, Stephanie Su, and 
Amanda Welling 

CANDOR: Kristi Diehm (faction leader), 
Jaime Arnold, Harmony Beaufort, Damaris 
Cardinali, Kris Chen, Sara Gundell, Bailey 
Hewlett, John Jacobson, Hannah McBride, 
and Aeicha Matteson 

DAUNTLESS: Alison Genet (faction lead- 
er), Lena Ainsworth, Stacey Canova and Am- 
ber Clark, April Conant, Lindsay Cummings, 
Jessica Estep, Ashley Gonzales, Anna Heine- 
mann, Tram Hoang, Nancy Sanchez, and 
Yara Santos 

ERUDITE: Pam van Hylckama Vlieg (fac- 
tion leader), James Booth, Mary Brebner, 
Andrea Chapman, Amy Green, Jen Hamflett, 
Brittany Howard, O'Dell Hutchison, Benji 
Kenworthy, Lyndsey Lore, Jennifer McCoy, 
Lisa Parkin, and Lisa Roecker 


Photo © Nelson Fitch 

VERONICA ROTH is the #1 New 
York Times bestselling author of 
DIVERGENT and INSURGENT, the first two 
books in the DIVERGENT series. Now a full- 
time writer, Ms. Roth and her husband live 
near Chicago. 

You can visit her online at veronicaroth- 

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"The next big thing.'-ROLLING 

"Move over, Katniss. Tris is the next in 
line."-USA TODAY 
"Thrilling."-US WEEKLY 
"If you haven't heard of Veronica Roth, just 
ask a teenager. They'll know all about the 
twenty-four-year-old author of the wildly 
successful books. The trilogy might be end- 
ing, but Roth's career is 
clearly just getting started." 
"Veronica Roth is the current rave 
among teen readers." 


"Veronica Roth is already beyond hot but 
could become the next young adult 
author to blast off into orbit." 

"The imaginative action and glimpses of a 
sprawling conspiracy are serious attention- 
grabbers, and the portrait of a shattered, 
derelict, overgrown, and abandoned Chicago 
is evocative as 



"Promising author Roth tells the riveting 
and complex story of a teenage girl forced to 
choose between her routinized, selfless fam- 
ily and the adventurous, unrestrained future 
she longs for. A memorable, unpredictable 
journey from which it is nearly impossible to 



"Roth paints her canvas with the same brush 
as Suzanne Collins. The plot, scenes, and 
characters are different but the colors are the 
same and just as rich. Fans of Collins, dysto- 
pias, and strong female characters will love 
this novel." 


"With brisk pacing and lavish flights of 
imagination, DIVERGENT clearly has thrills, 
but it also movingly explores a more com- 
mon adolescent anxiety— the painful realiza- 
tion that coming into one's own sometimes 
means leaving family 
behind, both ideologically and 

"Nonstop, adrenaline-heavy action. Packed 
with stunning twists and 
devastating betrayals." 


"DIVERGENT is really an extended meta- 
phor about the trials of modern adolescence: 

constantly having to take tests that sort and 
rank you among your peers, facing separa- 
tion from your family, agonizing about where 
you fit in, and deciding when (or whether) to 
reveal the ways you may diverge from 
the group." 
"This gritty, paranoid world is built with 
careful details and intriguing scope. The plot 
clips along at an addictive pace, with steady 
jolts of brutal violence and swoony romance. 
Fans snared by the ratcheting suspense will 
be unable to resist speculating on their own 

"You'll be up all night with 
DIVERGENT, a brainy thrill-ride of a 






Katherine Tegen Books is an imprint of 

ALLEGIANT. Copyright © 2013 by Veronica 
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